Monday, June 30, 2008

Rant: My Blog My Rules

I know. I haven't been ranting for a while, and some of my readers tell me they miss my acerbic diatribes. I haven't mellowed at all, it's just that I didn't have much to rant (at least of relevance to this blog) about...however, before I lose my so-called acerbic trademark, here's my position about what gets on my blog and what doesn't.

By the way, at the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Mexico City which had over 160 attendees, I was taken aback by the surprisingly large number of photographer/photojournalists (famous and emerging) who knew of The Travel Photographer blog and of my photography. This proves to me two major facts: the power of blogging and the power of branding about this earlier on TTP (I've posted about this earlier on TTP here).

But I digress. Here are the general terms of acceptance that cover what kind of photographic work is, and will be, posted on The Travel Photographer. Firstly, this blog is ad-free, and as I'm not beholden to anyone (corporate or individual), I only post what I like. This is also known as editorial privilege...and it's what counts. There are thousands of blogs dealing with photography and some are much better than mine, so photographers can pick and choose.

My preferences are too many to list, but photo essays/stories, in multimedia or stills, appeal to me a great deal. Work by emerging photographers are always welcome, provided it deals with travel (non stock stuff) and editorial. Particularly interesting is photography that can be described as ethnographic, and deals with religious or secular rituals, tribal cultures, among others. I have a hard time with websites that have dinky photographs, but if the subject matter is really interesting, you're in. If you're a photographer with a travel portfolio better destined to the pages of Travel & Leisure magazine, you don't need this blog.

In terms of geographic preferences, while my own photography is biased towards Asian and South Asian cultures, it doesn't mean that this is true for what gets on my blog. I'm not that interested in what is generally defined as "Western" photo projects of European and/or North American provenance don't really excite me that much. On the other hand, photographic work by emerging photographers from South Asia, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South America are especially welcome....but please, have functioning websites.

If you want to know what photography work turns me on, drop by my website or if you have the time, explore this blog. You'll know.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tewfic El-Sawy: Los Migrantes

Here's a multimedia photo essay I produced about the migrants from Central America and beyond, who pass through Mexico City by hitching rides on freight trains. Their ultimate destinations are the southern states of the United States, where they hope to find jobs.

Similar to the hobos of the past in our own country, the migrants have support from generous people along the way. The last frames of the slideshow are of famished migrants given hot tamales by an impoverished household in the La Lecheria neighborhood of Mexico City. I spoke with them in my less-than-fluent Spanish, and it's impossible not to be compassionate with human beings trying their best to improve their lives by any means.

A number of participants in my class at the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop produced similar photo essays.

Los Migrantes by Tewfic El-Sawy

Tom Wool: ONE

Photograph © Tom Wool-All Rights Reserved

Tom Wool is a British photographer currently living in NYC. I'd describe his work as "ethnographic photography" since the work he presents on his website ONE is of 160 portraits made during his travels to Bolivia, Irian Jaya, Kenya, Morocco, PNG, Suriname, Tanzania, Tibet and Venezuela.

His biography tells us that he worked in a number of fashion publications in the 1980s, and this background served him extremely well in photographing his subjects. Tom traveled to Tibet to work on a project, and with the sale of his photographs, he raised enough funds to build a school in Tzombuk, where some of his portraits were made.

We've been spoilt by the ever-increasing web's bandwidth, and are now used to much larger images than what Tom Wool's are. Perhaps an updated website is in the planning?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Amanda Koster: Salaam Garage

Photograph © Amanda Koster-All Rights Reserved

Amanda Koster is the force behind Salaam Garage Adventures, which connects travelers and enthusiasts with non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Travelers commit to creating and sharing unique, independent social media that raises awareness and causes positive change. The rest of the adventure is spent touring around the region, experiencing and exploring the culture and environment with an entirely new context.

I've written about Amanda and her work with Moroccan women in an earlier post on TTP, and she's an internationally recognized photographer whose mission to raise the general public's awareness by documenting some of the world’s more compelling issues.

Her biography speaks for itself, but I'd like to highlight that "she combines her anthropology background with photographic and media-making skills to create inspiring media content as a means for powerful communication, storytelling and learning."

I couldn't have described her work any better, but I would've certainly added that her work is immensely sensitive.

Eric de Vries: Thailand

Photograph © Eric de Vries-All Rights Reserved

Eric de Vries lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where he's been travelling since 2000. He's working on a long-term project titled 'Still Life in Khmer Style' that covers landscapes, temple scenes and Buddha statues. He has already produced several series, most of them in black and white, and published 3 books so far.

The new series Breaking The Clouds (Over Ayuthaya) was recently photographed during a trip to Thailand, while the One-Three-Six-series is a documentary about Street 136 in the heart of Phnom Penh.

Both series will be ready for publication during the second half of this year, but a preview of the two series can bee seen on Eric de Vries' website

Friday, June 27, 2008

Brent Stirton: Omo Valley/Bull Jumping

© Brent Stirton/Courtesy Discovery Channel

I've featured Brent Stirton's fabulous work on the Omo Valley a few months ago, and now bring him back with a Quicktime movie of the bull-jumping ceremony (click the small arrow above to start it).

The bull-jumping ceremony is an important ritual performed by some of the tribes of the Omo Valley region of southern Ethiopia, and is considered a sort of a rite of passage in a tribal man’s life. Bull jumping is a prerequisite for a man to take a wife and have children, and it involves him undergoing a number of rituals before leaping onto and running over the backs of cattle.

I witnessed the bull-jumping ceremony not far from Turmi, a village in the Omo Valley, and was taken aback (an understatement) by a preceding ritual involving the women of the Hamar tribe tribe being whipped by the men in their families.

Aditya Kapoor: Goa

Photograph © Aditya Kapoor-All Rights Reserved

Aditya Kapoor tells us in his biography that his two great passions are travel and photography, and that living in a heritage country such as India provided him a wealth of "diverse communities, architectural marvels, nature and different traditions waiting to be explored".

His photography has been published in various publications such as Tehelka magazine, Hindustan Times, Outlook, Indian Express, India Today and Mail Today, and he is actively involved with NGO’s such as Ithihaas, The National Association for the Blind, Tamana School and SECA.

Aditya's website has many galleries, and I chose his work on Goa to show here. I'm a fan of much larger photographs on photographers' websites, but unfortunately bandwidth realities have to be taken into account. I'm always glad to be able to show the work of emerging and promising photographers, and Aditya is one of them.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Lyle Owerko: The Samburu

Photographs © Lyle Owerko-All Rights Reserved

Raised in Canada, Lyle Owerko is a photographer, a film maker and, in my opinion, a first class ethnographer. His current projects seek to bridge ethnic borders by documenting cultural groups, such as the Samburu, for the improvement of the human condition.

According to Wikipedia, the Samburu are ethnically related to the Maasai. The name 'Samburu' is also of Maasai origin and is derived from the word 'Samburr' which is a leather bag used by the Samburu to carry a variety of things. The Samburu practice polygynous marriage, and a man may have multiple wives. A Samburu settlement is known as a nkang or manyatta. Each woman in the household has her own house, which she builds out of local materials, such as sticks, mud and cow dung.

From Lyle's website, you'll find that he was the photographer whose image of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 was published by the Time magazine on its cover, but it's his ethnographic work that caught my attention, and which brings him to The Travel Photographer blog.


My husband loves being 'BBQ Man' on Saturday evenings in the summer and last weekend he knew from that the weather forecast was for rain and gale force winds, but he still insisted the weather would turn out OK.

We go through this nearly every weekend in the summer and then the planned outdoor BBQ ends up being cooked indoors. Although, to be fair, we have had a handful of BBQ's so far this year.

Last year he put his foul weather gear on, put the garden parasol up and proceeded to BBQ!!! How's that for sheer determination. I have to admit though we did have visitors, and he thought he would put on a 'bit of a show'.

The pineapple cooked really well on the grill pan! The sauce was delicious and not too rich. The pineapple was a little difficult to eat, and I think after cooking, the pineapple should be cut across the width down to the skin, then you won't have to fight with it so much!

Delia Smith has a wonderful recipe for coconut ice cream which would go very well with the pineapple.


ISBN 1841728233 - Page 192

Serves: 6

For the rum butter sauce:

100g soft brown sugar, 100g unsalted butter, 100ml dark rum, 1 medium pineapple with leafy top if possible, cut length ways into wedges and core removed.

1. Put the sugar, butter and rum in a small saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves.
2. Brush a little of the mixture over the pineapple wedges, then cook them on a preheated barbecue or on a stove-top grill pan for 2 minutes on each side until charred and tender.
3. Serve with ice cream and remaining rum sauce.

World In Focus: Travel Photo Contest

The sponsors of the World In Focus: The Ultimate Travel Photography Contest are the National Geographic Society, and Photo District News.

The categories are:

Travel Portraits
Outdoor Scenes
Sense of Place
Spontaneous Moments
Photo Essay

If you have any interest in participating in the contest, click here: World In Focus. however caveat emptor and read the rules and regulations very carefully before committing your entry fee and more importantly your photographs. Having the National Geographic and PDN as sponsors of the contest does not mean that one should blindly participate...and reading the rules beforehand is a must.

Interestingly, since the contest is open to both "amateur" and professional photographers (each in a different category), I learned that this how the contest defines a professional photographer:

" A professional photographer:

* Earns more than 50 percent of his or her income from photographic sales.
* Is a member of such professional photo organizations as the National Press Photographers Association.
* Publishes photographs in books, magazines, newspapers, or online regularly."

I accept the first two conditions, but what about the third...especially the bit about "publishes online regularly"? Does this mean that photographers who frequently post on Flickr (as an example) are considered professionals? That'll be news to them.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New York Times: Virgins of Albania

Photograph © Johan Spanner for The New York Times-All Rights Reserved

I'm a real sucker for this kind of reportage, but read on! The New York Times featured a so-called multimedia piece titled The Sworn Virgins of Albania and an accompanying article, which tells us that in the isolated and conservative northern Albania, gender swapping was the norm for families that had a shortage of males...either due to natural causes or due to blood feuds that continued for generations. Consequently, some women took vows of lifelong virginity, and lived as men.

Much to my disappointment, the photo essay (erroneously described as multimedia) has no audio, and the measly 6 photographs cannot do justice in telling the life stories of these interesting women. I don't blame the photographer since I'm almost certain that he photographed to his heart's content...but the absence of accompanying audio interviews (and the small number of photographs) makes this slideshow nothing but a weak one-dimensional product. Why does The New York Times editors think that this qualifies as multimedia is beyond me.

I just returned from teaching a multimedia class at the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Mexico City, and the first thing I asked the photographers in my class to do was to capture ambient audio...and then photograph.

So here's the basic rule: slideshows with no ambient sound are not multimedia products....they are just slideshows. Slideshows with music "borrowed" from the web are not multimedia products...they are just slideshows with the photographer's iTunes songs/music playing in the background. Just imagine if the "Virgins of Albania" feature had ambient sound recorded where these women live, with snippets of their voices telling their life stories and experiences, textured by a narration by the photographer!!! It'd be a gem of a multimedia ethnographic-cultural reportage...that's what it would be. As it stands now, it's nothing but a waste of a good idea.

The accompanying article by Dan Bilefsky is here

Pop Photo's Batteries' Test

Popular Photography magazine's website has published a useful comparison of AA batteries, shopping around for the best prices, by spending $200 that bought seven sets of rechargeable and seven sets of single-use batteries -- 84 batteries in total.

The results for the rechargeable batteries were somewhat ambiguous, but Pop Photo chose the Energizer 15 Minute Charger as the best buy, while the Energizer e2 Lithium batteries are the best buy for single-usage batteries. As you'll see from the comparative data, there are many ways to determine the results.

For the in depth comparison: Pop Photo Batteries' Test

Ricoh Caplio GX-200

Whilst attending the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Mexico City, I heard many positive things about the Ricoh Caplio GX-100, and that many of the photojournalists use it in situations that do not lend themselves to the large DSLRs.

So I was interested in today's announcement by Ricoh launching the GX200 digital compact camera. The new model is replacing the GX100 and inherits the old model's 24 to 72 mm (equiv.) lens, manual controls and a removable (optional) tilting electronic viewfinder. Its resolution has been increased to 12 megapixels, and the screen now measures 2.7 inches.

The GX200 will be available in the UK from the beginning of July, but no word as to when it'll be available in the US.

Eric Lafforgue : Travel Photography

Photograph © Eric Lafforgue-All Rights Reserved

Eric Lafforgue lives in Toulouse, France, and produces content for television, radio, the music industry and travel photography as a freelance photographer and multimedia producer.

His website is truly excellent, and enhances his photographic talents. If you like ethnography combined with pure travel photography, this is the website to visit and spend time exploring and savoring. Eric seems to have been everywhere; from Indonesia, to the Sudan...from Malaysia to Danakil.

I recommend you open his Flash website Eric Lafforgue...and wait until you see all of his wonderful images on its cover page. The images are of exotic faces...and you'll soon notice that the eyes on each face remain level on every image. Don't miss the main photograph on the cover page of an elderly Chinese woman standing in front of a textured wall!

Professionally produced, this website and Eric's photographs will most certainly reinvigorate those who love travel photography. Highly recommended!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

INSIGHT Guides: Travel Photo Competition

Insight Guides in conjunction with the Independent are offering travel photographers the chance to win a commission to shoot one of its travel books. All the entrants have to do is offer three images on the theme of 'water'.

The first prize is a commission, worth £3,000, to photograph a travel destination for a future Insight Guide. Second and third prizes will be £1,000 and £500 worth of photographic equipment. The entrants must be normally resident in the UK, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, and all entries must be received by Friday 12 September 2008.

As usual in these sort of competitions, caveat emptor and a careful read of the fine print is a must. For instance, here's a condition which anybody considering participating should take note of:

"All entries, however submitted, shall become the property of INM and will not be returned. By entering this competition entrants agree that should they win or be a runner-up they are deemed to have agreed to grant to INM a non-exclusive licence to publish the winning entries online and in print.".

So again, caveat emptor!!!

Insight Guides' Travel Photo Competition 2008

8 Photographers : Access To Life

Photograph © Paolo Pellegrin-All Rights Reserved

The Global Fund is a unique global public-private partnership dedicated to attracting and disbursing additional resources to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.

Here's a truly magnificent multimedia production for The Global Fund, and featuring work by Magnum Photos photographers such as Paolo Pellegrin, Alex Majoli, Larry Towell, Jim Goldberg, Gilles Peress, Jonas Bendiksen, Steve McCurry, and Eli Reed.

In Access to Life, these 8 Magnum photographers traveled to 9 countries, photographing people before and 4 months after they began antiretroviral treatment for AIDS.

This multimedia production must be one of the best I've seen, and ought to be studied by photographers wishing to learn about multimedia, and how to excel at producing them.

Marvi Lacar: Maasai Ritual

Photograph © Marvi Lacar-All Rights Reserved

For the Maasai of Kenya, Femal Genital Mutilation (FGM) is considered a rite of passage. Although practiced in some Islamic countries, the tradition originated in Africa.

Particularly practiced amongst the poor pastoral Kenyan families, the marriage of a daughter brings in a significant enhancement of status, and an infusion of cash and livestock as dowry. In 2001, FGM became illegal in Kenya.

Marvi Lacar is a New York based photographer working with non-profit organizations, focusing on migrant and woman's health issues. She's been recognized by Communications Arts, PDN and American Photography, and has a long list of clients such as the New York Times, Time, Newsweek and many more.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ron Haviv: Asia Society

Photograph © Ron Haviv/Courtesy Asia Society

Bill Swersey has recently joined the Asia Society and, as as a long-time photojournalist, is leading the revamp of the global non-profit's website. He plans to expand the use of photography on the website, which has already published several photo projects on Asia-related themes. Also in the works is PictureAsia, a section of the site dedicated to showcasing great photography about Asia.

Here's its first multimedia project The Fires Within: Sri Lanka at War by VII photojournalist Ron Haviv, that looks at the civilian toll of 25 years of civil war in Sri Lanka.

Also available is Photographing Conflict to Give a Voice, an interview with Ron Haviv

Coincidentally, Ron was at the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Mexico City last week, where he presented The Fires Within. An extremely powerful and poignant multimedia portrait of the 25 years of civil war in Sri Lanka.

Matt Wright-Steel: Migrantes

Photograph © Matt Wright-Steel-All Rights Reserved

Here's one of the many excellent multimedia photo essays presented at the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop (FPW). "Migrantes" is produced by Matt Wright-Steel, a photojournalist based in Texas who participated in FPW.

"Migrantes" was photographed in an area nicknamed El Lecheria of Mexico City, where migrants from Central America and beyond slip on freight trains heading north to the United States borders, hoping for a better life and opportunities. It's estimated that in recent years at least 4.5 million migrants made it through the border.

Foundry Workshop: Verdict

Photograph © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

Well, I'm back home in New York City after participating as an instructor at the phenomenally successful Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Mexico City. The event was initiated by Eric Beecroft who, along with brilliant staff members, managed the Herculean task of putting together the workshop attended by over 140 emerging and established photojournalists/photographers.

The event offered the 140 photographers (and instructors) the unique opportunity to mingle, establish contacts, find peer support, discuss, debate, argue and agree on the innumerable facets of photojournalism and photography. It was enlightening to witness and appreciate the photographic depth, wisdom and generosity of Kadir van Lohuizen, Stanley Greene, Kael Alford, Hugo Infante, Michael Robinson Chavez and Adriana Zehbrauskas, to name but a few.

The absolutely stunning presentations by the talented "students" ranged from documenting the Santa Muerte cult, the dancing Aztecs, female wrestlers, gay life in Mexico City, women's prison, street clowns, to a hospice for elderly ex-prostitutes, and farmers' demonstrations. There were many more!

A fuller report will soon be posted on the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop blog, so I intentionally kept this report brief, but I have the absolute certainty that the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop will be an annual event. There's already talk of next year's venue being in India or Morocco.

The above photograph is of a commercial photographer at the steps of the Basilica at the Virgin of Guadalupe. I thought it would be an amusing addition to this post.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I have no idea why this is called passion cake - can anyone help on this one?

In my previous post, I made mini coconut loaves with fresh coconut and after wading through countless recipes that needed coconut decided on this recipe, perhaps in part because it only needs 28g of my precious coconut!

The cake will cut much better straight from the fridge and can then be brought up to room temperature for eating. If you like lots of topping then I would double up on the ingredients. You can see from the photograph it looks as though I've been mean with the topping. Unfortunately, I didn't have any mascarpone cheese left to make more.

I'll definitely be making this cake again, it was crumbly, moist and full of flavour and the unusual topping went perfectly with the cake.

I made this cake especially for my son who came home for the weekend and he said he thought it was amazing. In fact, we all thought it was amazing!

Sue Lawrence, the author of this book, won Masterchef in 1991 and was the President of the Guild of Food Writers from 2004 to 2007.


ISBN 1856262669 - Page 70

You will need: 18cm loose-bottomed, base-lined cake tin.

For the cake: 170g butter, softened, 170g soft light brown sugar, 3 medium eggs, 198g wholemeal self-raising flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 28g desiccated coconut, 57g raisins, 170g carrots (peeled weight) finely grated, 57g chopped walnuts.

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together with a mixer on low speed until light and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well mixed.
3. Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl. Using a metal spoon, gently fold into the creamed mixture, followed by the coconut, raisins, carrots and walnuts. Mix gently but thoroughly.
4. Turn into the tin and level the top. Bake for about 1 hour, or until a fine skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.
5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for at least 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the topping: 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese, 2 tablespoons natural yoghurt, 2 teaspoons runny honey, 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts.

1. To make the topping, beat together the mascarpone cheese, yoghurt and honey until smooth.
2. Spread over the top of the cold cake and sprinkle with chopped nuts.

The cake can be frozen completely iced. Store in the refrigerator after defrosting.

Friday, June 13, 2008

My Show-Off: Indian Widow

Photograph © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

Here's one of my weekly Show-Off features of my personal photography on The Travel Photographer's blog. Click on the photograph to view it larger size.

This is probably one of my very favorite photographs. It's of an elderly widow in the Indian city of Vrindavan, walking painfully to her ashram. Afflicted with osteoporosis, she uses her cane to assist her in her journey to the central hall, where she will receive lentils and rice as her main meal.

The photograph is part of my White Shadows multimedia slideshow, which I shall use during my course of Street Photography & Multimedia at the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Mexico City.

On The Road: FPW

I'll be flying to Mexico City for the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop early Saturday morning. I'll try to post as frequently as possible on the going-ons on The Travel Photography blog...including photographs and even video snippets.

The workshop has just started its very own blog which is

Thursday, June 12, 2008

New York Times: Mexican Rodeos

Photograph © Jim Wilson/The New York Times-All Rights Reserved

In time to highlight the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop starting in Mexico City this coming Monday, here's a multimedia slideshow from the New York Times of the charreada. These are rodeos and fiestas rolled together, and are one of Mexico’s most popular sporting events, dating to the 17th century.

Similar to the US rodeos, the charreadas involve horse riding, bull riding and team roping. However, riders in the charreadas wear elaborate three-piece suits and women ride sidesaddle in their traditional fineries.

After criticism from animal rights and anti-rodeo activists, the events have been changed to reflect better and safer treatment of animals involved in these rodeos.

Here's The New York Times' Mexican Rodeos

Chico Sanchez: Lady of Guadalupe

Photograph © Chico Sanchez-All Rights Reserved

With the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop starting in Mexico City this coming Monday, I had the good fortune of stumbling on the work of Chico Sanchez, a photojournalist based in Mexico City. He produced a slideshow on the pilgrims visiting the church of the Virgin of Guadalupe, which is one of the projects I intend to work on with some of the students enrolled in my multimedia course.

Chico Sanchez worked in Venezuela, collaborating with Reuters, European Pressphoto Agency, Agencia EFE, and freelancing for various newspapers and magazines.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is known in Mexico as "La Virgen Morena", and her festival day is celebrated on December 12, commemorating her appearances to Saint Juan Diego on the hill of Tepeyac near Mexico City from December 9 through December 12, 1531. The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City is the second most visited Roman catholic shrine in the world after the Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Michael Kamber: Leica M8

Photograph © Michael Kamber-All Rights Reserved

Michael Kamber is a well-known photojournalist currently attached to the Baghdad Bureau of the New York times. He has been nominated three times for the Pulitzer prize. He has covered conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Liberia, Cote D'Ivoire, Sudan, Somalia, Haiti, Israel, the Congo and various others.

He has written an comprehensive review on the Leica M8, which he used extensively in Iraq. He does not mince his words and concludes that the M8's is unusable for working photojournalists in combat situations.

For Michael Kamber's website, click here

(Thanks to Candace Feit for the link.)

Kate Orne: Pakistan Brothels

Photograph © Kate Orne-All Rights Reserved

To highlight the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop starting in Mexico City this coming Monday, I will focus this week's The Travel Photographer blog posts on various photojournalists and their work. This is the second in the series.

Kate Orne is a New York-based photographer who worked amongst the neediest people in Afghanistan and Pakistan over the past seven years. Her mission was to use her craft to fight against indentured slavery and to support the wellbeing of women, children and animals. She worked on several essays on indentured laborers in South East Asia, on victims of domestic abuse, on Kabul orphanages where children lack basic facilities, maternity wards without basic care and imprisoned women.

Her website has a number of galleries, documenting the brothels in Pakistan, the maternity hospital and orphanage in Kabul, refugee camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the red light district in Mumbai.

I thought her work on the brothels in Pakistan as her most powerful and thought-provoking, as it highlights the paradox that exists between the sex industry and Muslim fundamentalism in this part of the world.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Canon XS

Canon has announced a new entry-level DSLR. The XS offers 10.1-megapixel resolution, a 2.5 inches rear screen, 7 autofocus points, it will offer Live View on the rear LCD, and supports an unlimited burst rate of 3 frames per second until the memory card is full.

It is estimated that the XS will be priced in the US at approximately $580 for the body only, and $630 with a 35-70mm kit lens. The launch date is July 8.

This is obviously Canon's attempt to solidify its grip on the growing entry-level DSLR market.

(Hey Canon people...where in the &%$$#$ is the Canon 5D II???)

Frederic Courbet: Lamu (Kenya)

Photograph © Frederic Courbet-All Rights Reserved

To highlight the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop starting in Mexico City this coming Monday, I will focus this week's The Travel Photographer blog posts on various photojournalists and their work.

I start off with the work of Frederic Courbet, a Belgian freelance photographer currently based in Nairobi, Kenya. His biography tells us that he started work in Africa 4 years ago, and had had ihis images published in The Guardian, The Mail on Sunday, Der Spiegel, The Observer and other international publications. He has also worked for various NGOs including CARE in Nairobi. Courbet is represented by the London-based Panos Pictures.

I liked Courbet's imagery...and his galleries are well worth spending time on. For instance, look out for the wonderful image in his Somalia gallery of a multi-colored tent and clothes hanging in the wind. However, my favorite are his photographs of Lamu in Kenya.

I didn't know that Lamu is Kenya's oldest living town and port, and was one of the original Swahili settlements along coastal East Africa. It has existed for at least a thousand years, and was an important center of the slave trade. The town's architecture is a mix of African and Islamic styles with inner courtyards, verandas, and elaborately carved wooden doors.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Foundry Photojournalism Workshop

As readers of this blog know, the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop is six intensive days of classes, fieldwork, panel discussions, slideshows, portfolio reviews, multimedia creation, parties, networking and more, aimed especially at emerging and student photojournalists.

The workshop runs from June 16-21, 2008 at the AAVI (Academia de Artes Visuales) inMexico City, and is the brainchild of Eric Beecroft.

As one of the workshop's faculty members, I will be posting from the venue on The Travel Photographer blog as frequently as I can. A more comprehensive Foundry Photoworkshop blog is also in the plans. The diversity of the photo-projects and number of assignments being planned are just phenomenal, and the creativity of the student photojournalists is exciting.

The number of emerging and student photojournalists at the venue is about 140, with 20 faculty members. The faculty members are:

Eric Beecroft, Director
Kael Alford
Paula Bronstein
Andrea Bruce
Renée C. Byer
Guy Calaf
Tewfic El-Sawy
Stanley Greene
Ron Haviv
Eros Hoagland
Hugo Infante
Scott Mc Kiernan
Michael Robinson Chavez
Benjamin Rusnak
Shaul Schwarz
Stephanie Sinclair
Kadir Van Lohuizen
Adam Wiseman
Adriana Zehbrauskas

With special guest:
David Griffin, Director of Photography, National Geographic Society

Sunday, June 8, 2008

POV: David Roberts Weeps

One of my very favorite artists is David Roberts. He was a Scottish painter, and was born at Stockbridge, Edinburgh in 1796. He is especially known for a prolific series of detailed prints of Egypt and the Near East produced during the 1840s from sketches made during long tours of the region (1838-1840). This work, and his large oil paintings of similar subjects, made him a prominent Orientalist painter.

What made me think of him? Well, here's why. This an excerpt from Robert Fisk's "The West's Weapon of Self-delusion", his latest article in the Independent:

"The Tate has just sent me its magnificent book of orientalist paintings to coincide with its latest exhibition (The Lure of the East: British Orientalist Painting) and I am struck by the awesome beauty of this work. In the 19th century, our great painters wondered at the glories of the Orient.

No more painters today. Instead, we send our photographers and they return with pictures of car bombs and body parts and blood and destroyed homes and Palestinians pleading for food and fuel and hooded gunmen on the streets of Beirut, yes, and dead Israelis too. The orientalists looked at the majesty of this place and today we look at the wasteland which we have helped to create."

Robert Fisk is one of the few courageous journalists who tells it as it is.

Travel Photography Scholarship

The online travel insurance provider,, together with National Geographic Channel, has announced its 2008 photography scholarship, which will award one exceptional student the chance of a lifetime’ assignment.

The winner will get to accompany renowned wildlife on-assignment National Geographic photographer, Jason Edwards, to photograph the Arid Lands Festival and The Great Hughenden Endurance Camel Race, a quirky 160km camel endurance race run in Australia from 22 - 24 August, 2008

For full judging criteria and to apply, go to

Via Imaging Insider.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Petrut Calinescu: Egypt

Photograph © Petrut Calinescu-All Rights Reserved

Petrut Calinescu is a freelance photojournalist member of Panos Pictures, and is working from Bucharest in Romania. His photographs appeared in AP, AFP, Reuters, New York Times, Der Spiegel, National Geographic and a host of other international publications.

Take a look at Petrut's work in Egypt, and specifically his photo essay on the camel market near Cairo. The market is called Birkas, and is the largest of its kind in has been in existence for as long as camels have been used for transport. It's certainly not as colorful as the Pushkar Camel fair, and it's not a place for camera-wielding tourists.

The first time I became aware of camel traders was years ago in Khartoum...where I saw many dusty camel traders with some of their herd just ambling down the streets of the Sudanese capital. It was there that I was told of the ancient camel route that traverses Sudan into Egypt.

Again, a few years back, I was interested in joining an expedition which would travel a section of the darb al-arbaeen (translated as the route of 40 days) from the south of Egypt to its capital Cairo. This ancient route -used since antiquity- was an important trade and pilgrimage "highway", and was used by spice, slave, camel traders as well as pilgrims from West Africa on their way to Mecca, and kings and princes visiting Egypt. Its importance has dwindled, but I understand that traditional camel caravans still use it.

Here's the website of Petrut Calinescu.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Foto 8: Jane Hahn: Stilt Life

Photograph © Jane Hahn-All Rights Reserved

Here's a multimedia feature published by Foto 8 magazine and produced by Jane Hahn. The feature is on one of the more unusual slums in the world: a floating slum called Makoko in Nigeria. The feature is titled Stilt Life.

Jane Hahn is a photojournalist based in Accra, Ghana and specializes in documenting post-conflict and developing societies, as well as marginalized communities. She's a contributor to Panos, EPA and Bloomberg.

For further exploration of other photo essays, visit and subscribe to Foto 8

Boston Globe's The Big Picture

Photograph © Andre Penner/AP-All Rights Reserved

PDN's The Photo Feed reports that the Boston Globe has launched a photo blog called “The Big Picture”. The blog is compiled by Alan Taylor, who credits the old Life magazine, National Geographic, Mediastorm and MSNBC for his inspiration.

The Big Picture aims to host high-quality, amazing imagery of current events and lesser-known stories.

The above photograph is of indigenous women bearing machetes, protesting against the construction of a dam in Altamira, Brazil. The photograph is by Andre Penner.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


I decided to make my own desiccated and shredded coconut, and after carrying out this laborious task, made these delightful little coconut cakes.

ISBN 0600613569 - Page 56

Makes: 8 cakes

I have slightly adapted this recipe. The original recipe used passion fruit icing and the recipe for this is given below.

You will need: 125g softened unsalted butter, 150g caster sugar, 2 eggs, 125g self-raising flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 100g desiccated coconut, 2 tablespoons milk.

For the icing: 125g sifted icing sugar, 1-2 tablespoons passion fruit pulp.

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3.
2. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and process for 1 minutes or until evenly blended.
3. Oil and base-line an 8-hole mini-loaf tin. or 12 hole muffin tray. Divide the mixture equally into the tin and bake for 30-35 minutes until risen and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven, leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool.

To make the passion fruit icing:

Beat the ingredients together until smooth. Put the cakes, still on the wire rack, over a large plate and pour over the passion fruit icing, allowing it to drizzle down the sides of the cakes. Leave to set.

For the alternative icing:

1.250g instant royal icing, 1-2 tablespoon Malibu and enough water to make a smooth, runny paste that will ice the top of the cakes well.
2.Coat the cakes with icing and decorate with fresh shredded coconut.


Delia Smith on her website gives instructions for this 'operation'. It's definitely a job to do on a rainy day. A word of warning here, don't smash the coconut to within an inch of its life, or you will end up with small shards of coconut that take forever to peel (like I did!).

You will also need a fairly hardy food processor to make the shredded coconut because the coconut is quite tough.

After you have either desiccated or shredded the coconut, place in a ziplock bag and pop into the freezer. It freezes beautifully and takes only moments to defrost.

Never again after tasting fresh coconut will you ever be tempted to buy something out of a bag.
Another plus is that the coconut isn't 'sweetened' - pure bliss.

The coconut essence in the photograph can be purchased from Jane Asher and I use this in cake batter, icings etc.

My Show Off: Indian Renunciate

Here's one of my weekly Show-Off features of my personal photography on The Travel Photographer's blog. Click on the photograph to view it larger size.

I took this photograph of a renunciate at the Sufi shrine of Nizzam-Uddin in Delhi. This is the mausoleum of Delhi's most famous Sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya, and is visited by thousands of Muslims, and sees a large share of Hindus and Christians, on a daily basis.

I hesitate to describe this man as a sadhu, although that is the popular name for Indian ascetics, since in this case, I'm not sure of his religion. He seems to live at the Sufi shrine, however the heavy chains and padlocks around his neck reveal that he practices self-mortification, which is frowned upon in Islamic theology. I had met another individual at the shrine who told me that he wore a vest made of chains and padlocks as penitence for the sins of mankind, and who professed that he was following the teachings of Islam.

Although Sufism originates from the philosophy adopted by early Muslim ascetics, none of those practiced self-mortification of that kind. It may be that this ascetic's a follower of a lesser-known sect (at least to me), or may have combined the ascetic practices of Hindu sadhus and those of the Sufis.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Mark Tuschman: Bhutan

Photograph © Mark Tuschman-All Rights Reserved

Here's the website of Mark Tuschman, a photographer with a strong affinity to social responsibility and a powerful desire to bridge the gap between affluent societies and those which are poor through his photographic talent.

Mark quotes the words of Sebatiao Salgado: "If you take a picture of a human that does not make him noble, there is no reason to take his picture."

Explore his various galleries as I did, and this will lead you to his set of photographs of Bhutan under the International section. I have the feeling that I also photographed one of his subjects (the elderly man wearing the traditional cho and a blue woolen cap in front of the prayer wheels) during my 2006 photo expedition! Here's the link to my People of Druk Yul slideshow in which he (if indeed he's the same one) makes an appearance.


Photograph © T.C. Worley/The New York Times-All Rights Reserved

"America...This is our moment"

This momentous event spells the end of the cancerous political dynastic nepotism and cronyism, and the rebirth of our nation's democratic ideal: meritocracy.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Ben Lowy: Storylines

Photograph © Ben Lowy-All Rights Reserved

I've posted Ben Lowy's work on a number of occasions here on TTP; one of which was on his work in Ethiopia titled Wandering In Ethiopia.

I bring back Ben's work on TTP because of a new project on his website he calls Storylines. He writes that he was getting frustrated and tired of working with digital camera, and started working with a toy camera that would allow him to overlap the photographs and thus create a narrative from one roll of film. He has such "narratives" for India's Kumbh Mela, Iraq, Afghanistan, Darfur and the Tsunami.

As I'm planning to buy a Holga before I travel to Bhutan this fall, I was naturally interested in this very interesting idea, and loved it. A single narrative thread from one roll of film...ingenious!

David Gray: South West China

Photograph © David Gray/Reuters-All Rights Reserved

David Gray is a photographer with Reuters, and has published his audio slideshow of South West China on its blog. These are photographs of rarely frequented regions of China.

I'm not a fan of the Ken Burns effect, and although I found it somewhat overused in this doesn't take anything away from the quality of the photography.

David Gray's South West China

Monday, June 2, 2008

GEO Germany: Jonas Bendiksen

Jonas Bendiksen began his photography career as a 19-year-old intern in the London office of Magnum Photos. He eventually left office life to travel through Russia and pursue his own work as a photojournalist. Since then, Jonas has worked on numerous articles throughout the world, including his ongoing project about the world's slums. His coverage on "Dharavi: Mumbai's Shadow City," is featured in National Geographic.

Here's a a German-narrated slideshow feature published on GEO (Germany) website on Jonas' "The Places We Live" project. Since 2005, he has been working on this project which he says is "about the growth of urban slums across the world. In 2007, the world's urban population for the first time will overtake the world's rural population. At almost exactly the same time, the number of people living in urban slums is topping one billion." (From the project "The Places We Live" © /Magnum Photos)

The project explores what that means to the people living in four different cities across the planet.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Shervorn Monaghan : Crossing The Limpopo

Photograph © Shervorn Monaghan-All Rights Reserved

Foto 8 magazine features a slideshow Crossing The Limpopo showcasing the work by Shervorn Monaghan who, earlier this year, was in Musina, the point of entry into South Africa for most Zimbabweans.

Thousands of Zimbabweans have migrated to cities like Johannesburg, trying to escape their country, forced to look elsewhere to make a life for themselves. Xenophobia has recently erupted in South Africa, and Zimbabweans, Somalis, Mozambicans and Malawians were attacked in Johannesburg and other areas, as South Africans accuse these foreigners of taking their jobs and contributing to violence.

Shervorn Monaghan is currently based between Africa and the UK. She specializes in documentary photography and photojournalism, and has traveled extensively through South America, Southern Africa and the UK.

Foto 8 is a magazine "dedicated to publishing photo stories and new writing that supports photojournalism and original story telling whilst also exploring the boundaries between photography, journalism and art."