Thursday, July 31, 2008

Leonie Purchas: A Malian Family in Paris

Photograph © Leonie Purchas-All Rights Reserved

Today's feature is a change from the travel/documentary photography features I've posted this week. It's essentially a collection of social commentaries by the talented Leonie Purchas, a British photographer, who after taking an honors degree in the history of art, went on to work as a full-time assistant to the British photojournalist Tom Stoddard. She followed this with a diploma from the London College of Communications in 2003, gaining the first distinction to be awarded in five years.

Leonie is currently an artist in resident at Fabrica, Italy. Her work has been featured in a range of publications, including Portfolio magazine, The Sunday Times Magazine and Newsweek.

Out of her body of work, I chose the story of Tall Abdou, a Malian who had come to France in the 70's leaving his wife Tall Feinda in Africa. He legally married Tall Hamssatou after a few years living in Paris, who had already been married and had 8 children. A few years later his original wife Tall Feinda joined them in Paris and together they now have 15 children.

Be sure to read the introduction to the gallery, which examines the clash between French politics and African traditions.

Couscous: The Movie



I don't normally mention movies on TTP, but I recently watched an outstanding French film called Couscous (or La Graine et le Mulet) directed by the talented Abdellatif Kechiche, and produced by Claude Berri.

It's the story of Slimane Beiji, an ageing North African immigrant in the southern port French city of Sète, who opens a restaurant on a discarded boat. Hafsia Herzi acts the part of Slimane's step-daughter, and steals every scene she's in...an incredible performance for which she was awarded a Cesar.

To fully appreciate this movie, one needs to be fluent in French since the sub-titles are never accurate...but what a treat! One of the memorable lines in the movie is said by an elderly musician who, when told that Slimane was trying to get the town's permit to open the restaurant, makes the point that provided it's not a mosque, it would be easily granted.

Here's a short review in The Guardian.

The Rise of "Amateurs"...& "Tenacity"

Photograph © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

Alissa Quart has penned a topical and interesting article in the Columbia Journalism Review titled Flickring Out, which ponders as to what becomes of photojournalism in a digital age and "amateurs"?

So far, I haven't seen it mentioned in the photo-blogosphere, so here are a few excerpts:

Photographers have "been struggling with downsizing, the rise of the amateur, the ubiquity of camera phones, sound-bite-ization, failing magazines (so fewer commissions), and a lack of money in general for the big photo essays that have long been the love of the metaphoric children of Walker Evans."

" Some (but not all) photographers also complain about the insistence that they go “multimedia” and that their still images are sometimes getting overwhelmed and undone (although also sometimes improved) by the sound and moving images that accompany them. The most salient critique of this practice is not the rise of the slideshow, but how it is replacing the still image."

Instead, we will have amateur photographers—some lucky people at the right awful place at the right awful time (Nigerians who are at the next explosion of a pipeline, say). And I hope that innately gifted photographers will emerge as well—a Chinese Kratochvil, a Nigerian Gilles Peress.

We all know that the industry is in a state of dramatic flux, and that photographers are trying to swim against this overwhelming tide of change brought about by all that is mentioned in the first except. What I'm surprised about is that there still seems to be some of us who moan about multimedia...to me, embracing multimedia is one of the ways to survive. It's as simple and straightforward as that. As for the emergence of a Chinese, Nigerian or an Iraqi photographer unto the world stage like Antonin Kratochvil or Gilles Peress, I think (and hope) it's about time.

Elsewhere, Nevada Wier has written a post on how to become a professional photographer (without starving).

She stresses the need of having what she calls the "tenacity quotient". As she writes: "Photographers must want to be a photographer; they live to be a photographer, and they will die being a photographer." That's very true.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

BlackRapid R Straps


Over at David DuChemin's excellent Pixelated Image blog, there's an interesting review of BlackRapid R Straps. These are innovative camera straps which are adjustable, and that are worn diagonally across the torso from shoulder to hip.

A locking fastener connects the strap to the tripod socket on either the camera body or the lens. The camera then hangs upside down, "resting securely at your side or in the small of your back, with the lens pointing behind you".

It appears that David -like me- hates straps in general, but found the BlackRapid R Straps to be ideal for his style of shooting. Since I also shoot the same way, and my Op-Tech straps are getting grungy, I resolved that one of these straps would be on my Xmas gift list. I don't believe in Santa, so I'll write it in myself and just get it. I'll then test it and post a review as well, although I'm quite sure that my experience will be similar to David's.

Doing some research on the BlackRapid R Straps, I found that an enterprising soul had "borrowed" its concept and rigged up a DIY version of a "strap" with a fastener. Naturally, if your camera is expendable, go right ahead and follow his lead. If you value your camera, and want an innovative but safe strapping system, then check out the R Straps.

By the way, I had a Canon Mark II strapped over my shoulder as I entered Angkor Wat a couple of years ago...and it suddenly slipped off my shoulder and landed on the stone floor with a resounding thud. The camera was not damaged at all, but it was a heart-stopping incident...so make sure that your camera straps are sturdy and well constructed!

David Lehman: Heart of India

Photograph © David Lehman-All Rights Reserved

A graduate of Columbia University, New Yorker David Lehman was on his way of becoming an attorney until photography interfered with his progression, and called him over. As one can see from his galleries, David has traveled the world and developed a specialty in candid travel portraiture.

His galleries are all of interesting faces, and he occasionally contrasts the smooth young faces with the wrinkles of the elderly. Faces of China, Mountains of Ecuador and Heart of India are three of his main galleries of portraits. However, don't miss his gallery Places, which is of architecture and architectural details...vivid hues and super saturated details!

Royal Cremation In Ubud


Ubud Royal Cremation from Daniel Sato on Vimeo

Susetta Bozzi: China

Photograph © Susetta Bozzi-All Rights Reserved

Susetta Bozzi is a freelance photographer based in Beijing. Following a career in graphic design, she turned to photography full-time. Her photographs have appeared in Vanity Fair, Capital, Io Donna, Corriere Della Sera, Gente Viaggi and L'Express.

Most of her portfolios are China-centric, but she also has a few galleries of India, the Phillipines and Thailand. Although I chose her above photograph from the gallery From Chamdo to Lhasa" for this post, I was fascinated by her photographs of Yiwu, a town in China which is a Muslim trading post. Its stores cater to traders who come from all over the Islamic world and beyond. It reminds me of the ancient Samarkand and similar legendary trading posts on the Silk Route, where caravans would stop to trade and rest.

Lightroom 2.0


Adobe announced that Lightroom 2.0 was officially available from its website. The photo management software costs $299 and the upgrade is $99.

The improvements in Lightroom 2.0 over its beta version can be found here

Thomas Hawk lists 10 best things he likes about Lightroom 2.0 (via Imaging Insider)

Wanderlust Photo Contest


This year's Wanderlust Travel Photo of the Year competition has just opened for entries - offering trips to Mexico for the four amateur category winners.

The competition features four amateur categories: People, Wildlife, Landscape and Travel Icons. The winner of each will be awarded a 'photo commission' for two to Mexico, including accommodation.

The closing date is 1 December 2008.

There will also be a separate award for best portfolio. Open to amateurs and professionals, this boasts a £5,000 cash prize. Last year an amateur photographer triumphed over professionals to win this category.

The best shots from the competition will be published in The Independent newspaper and in Wanderlust magazine, which organises the annual awards. The winning and shortlisted entries will also go on show at the Destinations 2009 travel show in London.

It appears that the contest's terms and conditions confirm that copyright in entries remains with the photographer, however read them carefully before committing to participating.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Steve Razzetti: Myths & Heroes

Photograph © Steve Razzetti-All Rights Reserved

Steve Razzetti is a British photographer who, between 1984 and 2003, spent an average of 9 months each year in the Himalayas. His photographs and articles have appeared in various outdoor, travel and geographical magazines. He spent a year working with Michael Wood on the BBC's In Search of Myths & Heroes, the acclaimed four-part series titled The Queen of Sheba, In Search of Shangri-La, Arthur: The Once and Future King and Jason and the Golden Fleece.

POV: Respect And Engage

Photograph © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

I've said this many times, and it's fundamental to my photography workflow...to get a really good photograph of someone you need to spend the time befriending them. I don't mean spending hours making conversation, but be genuinely friendly, ask permission and engage your subjects before shoving your lens in their face. There are many benefits to this approach...the subjects are more relaxed, are more amenable to move and shift poses if you deem it necessary, and they'll relate better to the photographer...and believe me, this "special relationship" shows in the end result.

When leading my photo expeditions to India and South East Asia, I ask of the participating members that they make the effort of connecting with whoever they photograph...but a few still don't or can't out of shyness or other reasons. Invariably, those who managed to connect have better photographs...and also have better memories.

Of course, there's a difference in approach if you're photographing in a street or a crowd. In this case, asking for permission may be either superfluous (in the case of candid photography) or unwarranted because of the need to quickly photograph a "decisive" moment or scene. However, if noticed by the subject(s) of the photograph, it's generally better to thank them with a nod of the head and a smile, rather than walking hurriedly away, looking guilty.

This reminds me of how difficult it was to photograph in Marrakesh, for instance. In the famed square of Djema Al Fna, a number of street performers make their living of tips from tourists taking their photographs, and do not take kindly to what they consider "freeloaders". Engaging and befriending people who consider tips for photographs as their income will not get them to pose for free. So when in such situations, I either walk away or pay.

I've seen similar situations in La Paz, Bolivia where one of the cholitas in a marketplace was so annoyed by a photographer in our group, that she pelted her with potatoes...from across the street!

Naturally, there are ways and techniques to still get the photograph, even in dicey situations such as of the performers in Djema Al Fna. Wide lenses will allow you to get close to your subject, place him or her on one side of the frame, and chances are that they won't realize that they're being photographed since the lens isn't directly pointed at them. A long lens may also allow you to photograph in such situations, but at the expense of the intimacy that I prefer with my subjects.

For me, there's no two ways about it...people photography (as opposed to street photography) requires engagement, and the establishment of a relationship (even if a fleeting one) between the photographer and the subject(s)...and most importantly, showing respect and understanding for the culture in which you find yourself.

In situations such as with the Djema Al Fna performers or the La Paz cholitas, I'd rather be up front about it, show respect for the way they earn a living, establish a rapport with one or two of them, and then negotiate a fee. If interested in making ethnographic or environmental portraits, I'd have to photograph them elsewhere and that would probably cost me...but hey, I'd try to get model release out of them as well!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Censoring War Photographers

Photograph © Zoriah Miller-All Rights Reserved

The New York Times features a slideshow and accompanying article on the increasing control (aka censorship) by the American military on graphic images from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both slideshow and article make reference to Zoriah Miller, the photographer who posted images of marines killed in a June 26 suicide attack in Iraq on his Web site. Miller was subsequently forbidden to work in Marine Corps-controlled areas of the country. (For background on this, I've posted a Zoriah Miller slideshow on TTP just a week ago).

The thrust of the article is that photographers increasingly say the military allows them to embed but keeps them away from combat. Many say that they've been repeatedly thwarted by the military when they try to get to the front lines. I'm surprised at this since if we are to believe the news reports from Iraq, the so-called surge is working, and according to the Republican nominee for President, we are succeeding...so why keep away photographers from the battles? Shouldn't we enjoy seeing what our military might has caused?

The NY Times article is well worth a careful read, especially since it was co-authored by Michael Kamber, a war photographer himself (he recently published a scathing report on the Leica M8's performance) and based in Iraq.

The American military's argument is that it's protecting the sensibilities of families of the dead soldiers. Let's accept that this could be a valid argument to a certain extent, but let's also recognize that the American military's increasing censorship has more to do with preventing further erosion of public support to this unnecessary war than being "sensitive" than being attuned to the sensibilities of bereaved families. Sanitizing the horrors of war is what this is all about.

In the British newspaper The Guardian, Robert Fox penned an article titled Truth And Other Casualties of War, and refers to the Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park Corner which graphically depicts a dead British soldier, and which was considered an outrage when it was unveiled in 1925, and he ends his article by saying this:

"It is a fitting testament to the dead of that war – as Miller's pictures are of his war in Iraq."

Richard Vogel: Photojournalism

Photograph © Richard Vogel-All Rights Reserved

Richard Vogel is chief photographer and photo editor for the Associated Press (AP) in Vietnam for the past 8 years. He's responsible for covering news events, developing feature stories, and providing assignments to photographers, and editing their work. He also photographs, edits, scans, and transmits final images to AP for worldwide distribution. He also worked as a photo editor in India which included coverage of the Indian/Pakistani standoff in Kashmir.

His web portfolio consists of 105 photographs made over the course of his career, mainly in South and South East Asia. In my view, his work is that of the consummate photojournalist; work that doesn't rely on sensationalism to be effective...work well worth of studying and appreciating.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

POV: Model Releases

Photograph © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

I mentioned in my earlier post on Olivia Gay's environmental portraits that I would add my point of view regarding two issues that frequently crop up whenever I photograph people in Asia or elsewhere.

The first question/issue relates to model releases, and is often asked of me during my photo expeditions by participants who are worried as to whether they'll be asked by the eventual buyers of their photographs for signed releases from the people appearing in their photographs.

Generally-speaking, any photographs of people who are not specifically asked to pose do not require releases. Photographs of people taken during a photo shoot in a marketplace or a temple for example, do not require model releases. Such photographs can be sold and published in magazines, newspapers, periodicals, books and websites, and even exhibits. Photographs used for storytelling and informational purposes do not require model releases.

On the other hand, when people are specifically asked to pose for the photographer and the images are used for advertising such travel brochures or similar commercial publications, it would be wiser and safer to obtain a signed release.

Having said that, I must confess that I seldom bother to ask for anyone to sign a model release for many reasons. The first reason is the time factor. In most photo shoots, there's seldom enough time to ask the subjects of my photograph to sign a model release in a language they probably don't understand, especially since its whole concept is meaningless to them. Sure, I could hand out a handful of releases to my translator/fixer who could then ask the subjects of my photographs for their signatures, but practically-speaking that wouldn't work.

The second reason is that asking for releases would create an unnecessary complication. In India for instance, I've already been asked a few times (interestingly, by meddlesome onlookers and not by the subjects of my photographs) as to the purpose of my photographing people, and occasionally accused of "exploiting" my subjects to "make a lot of money". In fact, I recall photographing indigenous tribal people at a market in Chhattisgarh, and being harassed by an individual demanding that I pay money to the people I photographed...he was following me around, and getting to be such a nuisance that I reported him to the marketplace police who physically removed him from the market.

Let's be honest here. Whipping out pre-typed releases and asking adivasis to sign on the dotted line would certainly be misinterpreted. The formality of it all might lead them to believe I intended to harm them in some way. So the end result would be that the releases would not get signed (despite any translator's persuasive efforts), and no one in the vicinity would agree to pose for my photographs.

Let me put it this way...would I sign a formal looking document in a foreign language that I didn't understand? Not a chance. Another thing... could you have asked the glaring sadhu in the above photograph to sign a model release and get it? The answer is no...it would've been an exercise in futility.

My POV on how to respect local cultures and still get the photographs will be posted in a day or two.

Olivia Gay: Les Africaines

Photograph © Olivia Gay-All Rights Reserved

Olivia Gay is a French photographer, whose documentary work is centered on female issues. She's well known for her series "The Prostitutes" (1998-2002), "The Models" (2004-2005), "The Waitresses"(2000), "The Cashiers" (2006), and "The Workers" (2007-2008).

I chose her new work Les Africaines to show off her exceptional talents in environmental portraiture. The one of the woman and her baby against the blue wall is -in my view- the best in the series; expressive and the juxtaposition of the colors are just right...however do explore the rest of her work here.

On a tangential note, portraits such as Olivia's raise some issues for photographers. Are model releases required for such portraits, and how does one go about photographing people in similar situations? I will be posting on these questions soon...so don't miss it!

Sigma DP1: Pogue's Analysis


David Pogue of the New York Times reviews the Sigma DP1 in simple and easy terms, and avoids the incomprehensible jargon that we photographers get turned on by.

Here are some of David's key statements:

"The camera is slow, too. Slow to turn on, slow to focus. Action shots? Forget it. It’s even slow between shots; it takes two seconds to record each JPEG-format photo, and a ghastly seven seconds for each photo in the RAW format."


"The screen has other issues, too. In low light, it actually switches into black-and-white. The pictures you take are still in color, but the screen is monochrome. What the heck?"

"Finally, there’s the lens cap. Not to be a nitpicker here, but come on; not only is it not built in, it doesn’t even have a little loop for tying it to the camera. And it snaps back onto the lens in only one orientation: logo upright. You’ll lose this thing in a week, guaranteed."

And that's not all there is to it.

So despite Sigma's technological breakthrough of building a large "DSLR-sized" sensor and fitting it in a small pocket-sized camera, I'll wait it out.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

APPLE GINGER CAKES WITH LEMON ICING


I love ginger cake and came across this recipe from Australian Women's Weekly. To quote from the book 'it's the fabulous fusion of flavours that makes these little cakes unique'.

The tin they were cooked in, I believe, is called a 6-hole mini fluted pan or you could use a texas-style muffin pan which is 180ml capacity. You can buy these from eBay or TK Maxx. I'm sure other online stores also sell these.

I greased the mini fluted pan with Cake Release from Lakeland, this helps them to come out of the pan cleanly.

WOMEN'S WEEKLY HOME BAKED

ISBN 1863964118 - Page 225

Makes: 12

You will need: 2 six-hole mini fluted pans or 2-six hole texas muffin pans, well greased.

250g butter (softened), 330g dark brown sugar, 3 medium eggs, 90g golden syrup, 300g plain flour, 1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda, 2 tablespoons ground ginger, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 170g coarsely grated apple (unpeeled weight 200g - a large apple or 1½ average size apples), 160ml hot water.

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
2. Beat the butter and sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beat until well combined between additions. Stir in syrup.
3. Transfer mixture to medium bowl, stir in sifted dry ingredients, then apple and the water.
4. Divide mixture among prepared pans, smooth tops.
5. Bake in oven for about 25 minutes. Stand cakes in pan 5 minutes, then turn onto wire racks to cool.
6. Drizzle lemon icing over cakes.

Lemon Icing

320g icing sugar, 2 teaspoons softened butter, 80ml lemon juice (approx 2 lemons).

Stir icing sugar into medium heatproof bowl, stir in butter and juice to form a paste. Place bowl over small saucepan of simmering water, stir until icing is a pouring consistency.

World Nomads & NGA-Film Scholarship


World Nomads, in conjunction with National Geographic Adventure, is announcing a scholarship for budding video documentary makers.

World Nomads will fly the recipient of the scholarship to India between October 11th and October 25th 2008, and under the mentorship of documentary film-maker Trent O'Donnell, to shoot a "video documentary on the theme of community project travel and the impact it has on both the local community as well as the travellers that participate".

As with all contests, make sure you carefully read all the conditions and fine print that govern this opportunity.

World Nomads' Scholarship

RGS: Portraits of Adventure

Photograph © Brent Stirton -All Rights Reserved

Portraits of Adventure is sponsored by Land Rover, and is at the Royal Geographical Society, Kensington Gore, London SW7 from July 22 2008 to August 3 2008, 10am – 8pm daily. The exhibition consists of 60 images that "captures the true spirit of adventure."

David Levene: Haiti's Saut D'Eau

Photograph © David Levene/The Guardian -All Rights Reserved

Every year, thousands of Haitian pilgrims converge into the basin of Saut D'Eau's sacred waterfall to pray. They throw their clothes into the cascading waterfall where the faithful believe the Virgin Mary (known as Erzulie in Haitian Voodoo), appeared in the 1800s.

Haitian Voodoo was created by African slaves merged their ancestral religious traditions with Roman Catholic practices, allowing them to continue observing their ancient beliefs under the scrutiny of the French colonialists. Today, many move freely between the two beliefs.

Being in London, I gleefully peruse all the British newspapers (which stand head and shoulders above ours in terms of candid and more substantial coverage...I know, I just can't help myself), and I was glad to have seen the Spiritual cleansing in Haiti feature, a SoundSlides with photographs by David Levene on The Guardian newspaper's website.

I'm surprised that it has no intro frames with titles and no credits, but the image sequencing and the accompanying ambient audio manage to pull it together. It certainly needs some "tarting up" as they say here, but otherwise it's an interesting feature.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Jeffrey A. Davis: Lumen Production

Photograph © Jeffrey A. Davis -All Rights Reserved

Jeff Davis works through the Lumen Production Company as documentary photographer, filmmaker, producer and advocate. His imagery has appeared in newspapers, magazines, websites, calendars, museums, festivals and galleries. He also works as executive producer for "Art Wolfe's Travels To The Edge", a 26-part TV series for Public Television. He works with Phil Borges' Bridges To Understanding project, and The Tibetan Nun Project, among other worthwhile endeavors and ventures.

Out of his many projects and galleries which are all terrific, I liked Path of Promise best, as it involves photographs of Tibetan nuns as they live and worship at various nunneries in Dharmasala, India. While participating myself in Phil Borges' Bridges To Understanding program in Dharmasala in 2005, I visited one of these nunneries, and was struck by the nuns' dedication and hospitality.

Here's Jeff Davis' Lumen Production

Monday, July 21, 2008

Lightroom, MediaStorm and SoundSlides?

Photograph © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

I'll be blogging from London, England for about two weeks.

Here's a post by travel & outdoor photographer Michael Clark for the O'Reilly Digital Media blog which I can't agree with more.

The gist of the article is that with photojournalism rapidly evolving, and the growing necessity of integrating still photography into multimedia, and since Lightroom is currently the leading tool for photographers to work with their images, Michael's opinion (and Bob Sacha's as well) is that it would be an enormous advantage to have SoundSlides integrated into Lightroom as a plug in or in some other manner.

Yes, and yes.

I've already written on the imperative of photographers and photojournalists being multimedia narrators here, and this article simply reinforces my multimedia evangelism.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Zalmaï: Afghanistan

Photograph © Zalmaï Ahad -All Rights Reserved

As a consequence of the the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Zalmaï Ahad was forced into exile in 1980, and eventually became a Swiss citizen.

In 1989, he started as a freelance photographer, traveling the world to cover photojournalism projects as well as social documentaries. His photographs were published in several magazines and newspapers including the New York Times Magazine, Time Magazine, Le Temps, Newsweek, La Repubblica, ICRC Magazine, Human Rights Watch and Refugees Magazine, a quarterly publication of UNHCR.

Zalmaï's work has earned him several national and international prizes including the World Press Joop Swart Master Class, Days Japan 2006 an d Photo District News (PDN) annual award for documentary photography. He is a member of the Association Focale, a cooperative of photographers based in Nyon, Switzerland.

While Zalmaï's galleries are eclectic, his most arresting work is from Afghanistan, out of which I chose his panoramic photographs for this post.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Big Picture: A Royal Farewell In Bali

© Bay Ismoyo/AFP/Getty Images-All Rights Reserved

Another pictorial coverage of the royal cremation on the island of Bali is featured by the Boston Globe's Big Picture blog.

The head of the royal family of Ubud was laid to rest in a rare, spectacular Royal Funeral - the largest in decades. The head of the family, two other members of the royal family, and 68 commoners were cremated in the ceremony - their bodies having been previously preserved, awaiting cremation, which is traditionally believed to free their souls for future reincarnation.

The images by various photographers are on The Big Picture

Lightroom: Stunning Black & White

Photograph © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

Chris Orwig of Layers magazine has written an article on how to create stunning black & white images in Lightroom.

I sometimes test tutorials, whether for Lightroom or Photoshop (the latter less and less frequently), but usually find them too complicated...and frankly, not worth the time to learn them. As I often mention, I'm far from being a pixel pusher, and my fiddling with photographs is kept to an absolute minimum. So I'm not at all keen in learning a superfluous new technique that I sense will keep me chained to my desk for hours.

However this one is well worth the time and effort...it's simple, it's effective and even allowed me to add some tone to the final image. I've used it to create the above photograph taken last week in Coney Island in a matter of minutes.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Zoriah: Disembedded



Photo District News (PDN) features an article on Zoriah Miller, a freelance photographer who published pictures of dead U.S. Marines on his blog, which he claims has led him to be ejected from his U.S. military embed in Iraq. Click above to view an audio slideshow of Zoriah's photographs.

Zoriah told PDN: "They embedded a war photographer, and when I took a photo of war, they disembedded me. It's as if it's okay to take pictures of them handing lollipops to kids on the street and providing medical care, but photographing the actual war is unacceptable."

PDN's full article is HERE

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Justin Mott: Royal Plebon Ceremony

© Justin Mott for The New York Times-All Rights Reserved

The New York Times features a well produced multimedia piece on a royal cremation ceremony in Ubud, Bali with photographs by the talented Justin Mott, and produced by Michael Kolomatsky and Patrick Witty. The accompanying audio of the royal cremation is nicely woven in the sequence of Justin's photographs. You'll hear the lighting of the fire coinciding at precisely the right instant as the photograph of the pyre appears on the screen... in newspapers with deadlines, paying attention to such sync'ing is often not the case.

Jefri Aries, a Balinese photojournalist, announced the event on Lightstalkers a few days ago. On July 15, the Ubud Royal Family held a cremation ceremony for the bodies of two prominent elders of the family. These were Tjokorda Gde Agung Suyasa, head of of the Ubud Royal Family and leader of the traditional community in Ubud since 1976, and Tjokorda Gde Raka, a senior officer in the police force in Denpasar until his retirement in 1992.

The cremation procession and associated ceremonies are rituals of paramount importance in the Hindu rites of passage. During the Royal Plebon Ceremony, the bodies of the deceased were carried through the streets of Ubud by thousands of local people on top of a nine-tiered tower called ‘bade’. The procession was accompanied by an elaborately decorated and venerated bull effigy (Lembu) and a mythical dragon-like creature (Naga Banda), with a five meter-long tail. The naga is reserved for only the elders of the Royal family and is seldom seen in cremation ceremonies.

Seth Mydans wrote the accompanying article Circle of Life

Having led a photo-expedition to Bali last year, I witnessed a number of cremations and affiliated ceremonies, so this brought back many visual flashbacks and memories.

Recorder Reviews: II


The valuable and informative Transom website has a comparative portable digital recorder review which lists most of the more available and popular brands here.

The recorder of choice used by the photographers attending my Multimedia Storytelling class at the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop (Mexico City) was the Zoom H2, an easy-to-use and inexpensive model. The feedback I got was that it performs well...but that its controls are not really intuitive, and that it feels somewhat fragile,

I'm still using the M-Audio Microtrack that hasn't performed as it should have in the past few weeks. I'm not sure whether its a software problem, or whether it decided it had reached the end of its useful life (it hasn't been used long enough for that).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

RASPBERRIES AND CREAM ICE



I was inspired to make this whilst looking through the August 2008 Sainsbury's Magazine. Nigel Slater, ice cream and raspberries - perfect.

Unfortunately, I had a problem with this recipe. If you eat this straight from the freezer the cream ice and raspberries are frozen solid. If you thaw it for a while, the cream ice melts and reverts back to its original consistency and the raspberries remain frozen.

We served ours semi-melted and had lots of extra raspberries with it.

Serves: 6

You will need: a 10 x 16cm loaf tin, 9cm deep, the base and sides lined with clingfilm.

75g caster sugar, 3 large eggs (separated), a few drops of vanilla extract or a knife-point of vanilla seeds, 275ml double cream, 250g raspberries.

1. Add the sugar to the egg yolks and beat until thick and pale. Stir in the vanilla. Whist the cream until thick, but still able to slide a little when the bowl is moved from side to side. You don't want it to be stiff. Fold the cream into the egg yolk and sugar.
2. Crush the berries with a fork. Just mash them lightly.
3. In a clean bowl and with a clean whisk, beat the egg whites until stiff. fold them tenderly into the mixture, followed by the crushed raspberries. Pour into the lined tin. Tap gently to level the mixture then cover loosely with clingfilm and place in the freezer for a good 4-5 hours until frozen.
4. To serve, slice with a heavy, sharp knife into thick pieces.

Note: this recipe contains raw eggs.

Adrianne Koteen: Burma

Photograph © Adrianne Koteen-All Rights Reserved

Adrianne Koteen attended the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Mexico City, and it's there that I had the good fortune of reviewing her portfolio.

She's a freelance photographer, educator and arts consultant based in San Francisco, and her biography reveals that she works internationally with a variety of non-profits, museums, and individual clients. Adrienne is also the program coordinator for Fotovision, a Bay Area based non-profit whose mission is to advance social documentary photography though education, dialogue and community. Her photography has taken her to six continents, and her work has been used in numerous non-profit settings, including an Imagining Ourselves exhibit at the United Nations.

While reviewing Adrienne's portfolio at the workshop, I stopped at the above photograph of a Burmese monk looking over lake Taungthamanthe from the U Bein bridge in Amarapura. I thought it was an exceptionally beautiful photograph, worthy of being entered in photography contests, and if I were a judge, of winning. At the very least, I think this photograph could be used as an ideal double-spread for articles on Burma, particularly because of its composition...the right hand expanse is perfect for titles and preambles to the main text.

I foresee an extremely bright future for Adrienne in social documentary photography, as well as in travel editorial photography, should she choose to pursue her career in these fields.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Advance Peek: To Cambodia With Love


To Cambodia With Love: A Travel Guide for the Connoisseur is a one-of-a-kind guide for the passionate traveler published by Things Asian Press in San Francisco.

The photographs are by Tewfic El-Sawy (aka The Travel Photographer) and is edited and with contributions by Andy Brouwer. I'm pleased with the choice of the photograph of the Royal Apsaras on the cover; it was made in Angkor Wat and this one in particular is of one of the dancers adjusting the headgear of another before the photo shoot.

The book is 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches; paperback; color & b/w images and will be available for order in winter of 2008.

When it comes to Cambodia, no one knows it better than the contributors to To Cambodia With Love. Sharing their own stories in their own words, they will introduce you to some of the country’s most memorable experiences.

I will announce its publication date on TTP as soon as I know it, and hope you'll buy it! It promises to be a blockbuster.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Rant: The New Yorker


The New Yorker magazine has stirred a hornet's nest for what it calls a satirical cartoonish cover that shows Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama dressed in a Taliban-like garment, and his wife Michelle — dressed in camouflage, combat boots and an assault rifle strapped over her shoulder — standing in the Oval Office. To add insult to injury, artist Barry Blitt added a portrait of Osama bin Laden on the wall, and the American flag burning in the fireplace. This cover is tasteless, repugnant and offensive on all levels.

I read that The New Yorker's editor says that the cover is satirizing rumors about Obama — including rumors that he's Muslim and anti-American, and defended its choice, "saying its readership is sophisticated enough to get the joke."

This is so out-of-touch (and dismissive of our intelligence) that it beggars belief as to how these people at The New Yorker think. I hope readers will find the so-called "joke" so unfunny that they cancel their subscriptions, and demand their money back. That'll be really funny.

POV: Lightroom Or...?

Image © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

The photographer Georges Mann has written an article tackling the "Can Lightroom 2 replace Photoshop CS3?" question on the O'Reilly Digital Media blog. This of course is a question that triggers endless debates, Byzantine arguments and lots of harumphs from both sides of the aisle..sort of like the Canon vs Nikon debate.

I believe that Lightroom 2 does all I need and more, and I'm glad that I've opted to go for it instead of spending my life's savings on CS3 (or on its endless stream of successors).

In a nutshell, Mann's 6th prediction in the article is precisely my view. I'd be less cautious in my verbiage than he is, but we all have our own writing style.

"6. Photo Journalists & Travel photographers - there are exceptions but most of these photographers deal with reality, so Lightroom should be enough for editing out bad shots, improving bad exposures and generally applying a personal look to their images. Lightroom can also help them present their images to their clients and put galleries on the internet."

Exactly! As a documentary and travel ethnographic photographer, I'm into reality ( I seldom crop, for instance), not fantasy...and I'm not a pixel-pusher, so CS3 is a software program that I don't need.

I occasionally listen to the arcane discussions by CS3 (or its other versions) users, who extol the minutiae of layers, adjustments, and other tools, that just make me roll my eyes to the heavens and yawn!

Via Imaging Insider.

Max Becherer: The Mandaeans of Iraq

Photograph © Max Becherer-All Rights Reserved

Here's an interesting photo essay by photographer Max Becherer on the Mandaeans in Iraq. The Mandaeans are a small religious sect in Southern Iraq and Iran, who espouse an ancient belief resembling that of Gnosticism and that of the Parsis. They are also known as Christians of St. John, among other names.

The customs of Mandaeans indicate early Christian, and possibly pre-Christian, origin. Their system of astrology resembles those of ancient Babylonia and the cults of the Magi. Although some of their practices were influenced by Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, they reject all three. St. John the Baptist is honored by the Mandaeans since their main ritual is frequent baptism. It seems that the Mandaeans are currently being discriminated against in Iraq, and forced to leave their homes.

Max Becherer is a freelance photojournalist, represented by Polaris Images since 2004, dedicated to covering international news and the Middle East. He is published in Time Magazine, the New York Times and a variety of other newspapers. Since working with Polaris, Becherer has covered Africa and the war in Iraq. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Photojournalism from California's San Jose State University in 2000.

Here's Max Becherer's The Mandaeans

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Beyond The Frame: Coney Island's Barkers

Photograph © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

On the corner of West 12th Street and Surf Avenue is the eye-catching Coney Island Museum and the Side-Show by The Sea. Its facade is decorated with colorful artwork depicting the Side-Show's features, such as Donny Vomit the death defying performer, Angelica the fire dancer, Heather Holliday, the sword swallower and Serpentina the Snake Charmer. This is one of the photographs of the Side-Show's barker....a dandyfied gentleman who encourages the public to pay the $7.50 entry fee to watch the so-called freak shows.

Photograph © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

The area's seediness and its current decay has a charming aesthetic to it, and a hot dog eaten on Coney Island's boardwalk tastes better than anywhere else!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Frans Lanting: LIFE


Here's a seamless, smooth and utterly professional multimedia production entitled LIFE: A Journey Through Time with the gorgeous photography of Frans Lanting.

Lanting is hailed as one of the great nature photographers of our time, and his photographs appear in books, magazines, and exhibitions around the world. He documented wildlife and nature from the Amazon to Antarctica.

This is museum-quality multimedia, with "new age" type of music by Philip Glass and you'll need time to savor its many ingredients. It's not travel nor editorial photography but I found it so well produced that I had to mention it here on TTP. I'm sure it'll be a favorite for years to come.

Rick Sammon & On-Location Portraits

Photograph © Rick Sammon-All Rights Reserved

Rick Sammon is a prolific travel photographer, author and instructor who has just written an interesting article in Layers magazine titled The Art of the On-Location Portraits.

This sentence caught my eye: "For me, the key to getting a good on-location portrait is to fall in love—photographically—with the subject. That’s exactly what I did when I saw this young woman. Out of the 50 or so people who lived in this particular village, she caught my eye immediately.

I couldn't agree more. The key to a good portrait (in fact, I'd argue it's the same whether on location or in a studio) is to establish a rapport with your subject. I've posted about this very thing in June last year in a post titled POV: Better Travel Photography . The foundation of successful environmental portraiture and ethnographic photography is the establishment of a relationship between the photographer and subjects....it's a no-brainer. When I lead my photo tours, I always sound like a broken record, and the mantra is "connect with your subject(s)...befriend them and start a conversation". Not only will the photographers make much better photographs, but they'll have background stories to go along with them. You'll be surprised at how long these memories stay with you.

So yes, absolutely...do what Rick Sammon says, fall in love photographically with your subject!!!

Via David duChemin's excellent Pixelated Image blog

Friday, July 11, 2008

JAMIE OLIVER'S FABULOUS FISH CAKES


This is one of Jamie's 'Feed Your Family for a Fiver' recipes from Sainsbury's Try Something New Today.

They were very easy to make and instead of my usual method of cooking fish cakes in butter and oil in a frying pan, these were cooked in the oven with only a drizzle of oil over them and obviously this is a much healthier option.

The basics salmon was surprisingly good, and I wouldn't hesitate to use this again in recipes requiring cooked salmon. Make sure you go over the salmon though for the odd few bones because you wouldn't want your children to have any of these in their mouths!

I didn't follow Jamie's salad to the letter because I had other salad ingredients in the fridge to use up, but I give the recipe below.

On another note - I still prefer to fry my fish cakes for extra taste and colour, also I always add some chopped parsley to the potato and salmon.

Nigel Slater says tinned salmon makes 'deeply flavoured fish cakes'. He has written a charming piece about fish cakes for Waitrose.

As a child we always had fish cakes made with tinned salmon and mashed potatoes. They were mostly served with baked beans and then we used to prod open the fish cakes and pour malt vinegar inside of them! That meal was always one of my favourites as a child. Does anyone else remember having this dinner or a variation of it? I would love to know.

Here is Jamie's recipe:

Serves: 4

You will need: 350g basics salmon fillets, 4 baking potatoes, 1 lemon, 1 egg

1. Place the salmon fillets in a metal colander over a pan of simmering water. cover and steam for 5 minutes.

2. Peel the 4 potatoes, cut each into about 8 pieces and boil until soft. Mash and leave to cool. Remove any skin from the salmon, flake and mix with the potatoes, a lightly whisked egg, lemon zest and some salt and pepper. Roll the mixture into 8 fish cakes.

3. Drizzle olive oil on both sides of the fish cakes and cook on a baking tray in a preheated oven for 15 minutes at 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6 or until crispy on the outside and heated through.

For the salad: Round lettuce, cucumber portion, 2 tomatoes, 1 red onion.

1. Quarter the heart of the lettuce and set aside.

2. Chop all the remaining washed salad ingredients, including the outer lettuce leaves.

3. Place in a salad bowl.

For the dressing: Dijon mustard, juice of the lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper.

1. Make a well in the middle of the prepared salad and squeeze in the juice of the lemon. Add a dash of olive oil, a spoonful of Dijon mustard and the salt and pepper.

2. Mix through the salad.

3. Serve the fish cakes with the salad and quartered lettuce heart.

IHT: The Virgins of Albania

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

Some two weeks ago on the pages of TTP, I was critical of a New York Times slideshow on the Virgins of Albania, and how I was disappointed that the 6 photographs photo essay -erroneously described as multimedia- had no audio, and could not do justice in telling the life stories of these interesting women.

So I was excited to find the International Herald Tribune's audio slideshow on the Albanian Virgins, and initially pleased that the gods had seemingly read my post. But no...they hadn't. The audio slideshow was almost as disappointing as the New York Times' silent photo essay, and such a classic example of how not to produce a multimedia slideshow, that I would use it in my classes of Multimedia Storytelling.

While adding narration to the slideshow was a step in the right direction, it didn't add sufficient depth/texture to the subject matter. The narration is by Dan Bilefsky, the writer of the original article, and he more or less reads it aloud. Yes, there are more photographs in the IHT production than in the NYT one...but the heavy-handed overuse of the Ken Burns effect is irritating and meaningless.

I don't mean to be disparaging to the producers, but a monotonous voice reading off a script, while the slideshow is punctuated by unwarranted Ken Burns effects, is not good multimedia. For one thing, the Ken Burns effect ought to be used sparingly, and used to bring the viewers' focus to something in particular...to emphasize a detail, for instance.

The second problem is also easy to fix: I can read the accompanying article which has the facts, so why have the writer narrate what he wrote? Why not have the Albanian Virgins speak instead, and have the writer translate what they said in a voice-over? At least there'd be some dynamism in the piece.

Ah, well...certainly a step in the right direction, but still a waste of a good idea. Third time lucky, NYT/IHT??

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Microsoft ProPhoto Summit


PDN Pulse reports on the 3rd annual Microsoft Pro Photo Summit held July 9-10, 2008. This is a two-day event that brings together renowned professional photographers and industry leaders on the Microsoft Campus in Redmond, Washington, to discuss the top issues affecting the industry.

Microsoft Pro Photo Summit

Claudia Wiens: Egypt

Image © Claudia Wiens-All Rights Reserved

Claudia Wiens has been based in Cairo, Egypt as a freelance photographer since 2000, and immersed herself in this populous Arab and Islamic nation, getting as close as possible to its people. She's represented by Getty Images

Claudia attended the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop (FPW) in Mexico City, and I initially met her while lunching over a few tacos near the workshop's center. She was wearing a red t-shirt advertising "SAVO", an Egyptian detergent that I remembered being used years ago when I lived there. I asked her if she had visited Egypt, and she shocked my socks off by replying in flawless Egyptian that she actually lived there in a neighborhood I knew well, and this was said in as good a pronunciation as mine, and truth be told, it sounded less rusty! We continued most of our conversation in Egyptian...it was certainly fun to be speaking my native language with a German in Mexico City.

Her project in Mexico City for FPW was documenting the female professional wrestlers known as luchadoras, a project which earned her much attention and compliments.

She has recently published some of her work on the Luchadoras on the BBC website.

If I'm not mistaken, the above photograph by Claudia is of the famed Cairene coffeehouse known as "El-Feshawy" where I had my first (and probably last) sheesha or hubbly-bubbly water pipe. If any of my readers have nostalgic memories of Cairo, have a look at Claudia's photo essay on Groppi.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Lumix Festival : Steve McCurry & Others

Image © Steve McCurry-All Rights Reserved

On the 18th – 22nd of June 2008, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hannover organized the first Lumix Festival for Young Photojournalism in cooperation with the German photojournalist union FreeLens. Universities, photo and journalism schools as well as professional photo reporters up to the age of 35 from all over the world were invited to participate in the festival.

Streaming videos of lectures given by Steve McCurry, Antonin Kratochvil, Vanessa Winship and others, recorded live are availble on Lumix's website. I chose to watch Steve McCurry's lecture which runs for 122 minutes out of which, inexplicably, the initial 14 minutes are wasted in filming attendees entering the lecture hall...no editing, Herren Lumix?

The lecture by McCurry had nothing new...no new photographs, with an accompanying narrative that was monotonous, and which told us absolutely nothing about the whys and hows of each image. Nothing about techniques, nothing about the culture of South and South East Asia...in all, a trite presentation. Maybe I'm being uncharitable after wasting almost 15 minutes of nothing, so you be the judge.

Via Rob Galbraith: Lecture by Steve McCurry

Holly Wilmeth

© Holly Wilmeth-All Rights Reserved

Born and raised in Guatemala, Holly Wilmeth was slated to teach at the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Mexico, however she had a last minute conflicting photo assignment preventing her from joining the faculty. She's a freelance photographer based in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and traveled to over 45 countries.

Her work has been published in National Geographic Adventure, Houston Chronicle, CARE, USAID, PBX, Christian Science Monitor and Time Magazine.

I found her photographic style to be eclectic and diverse, and her work straddles both photojournalism and travel. Her above image of the elder smoking his pipe at the 99 houses village in China is a lovely environmental portrait, and there are many more like it on her website.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

POV: Multimedia: Words of Wisdom

© Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

The first words I uttered to my students at my Multimedia Storytelling class for the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Mexico City a couple of weeks ago were these:

"Learn how to become a visual storyteller because being a still photographer will no longer get you a job or a gig."

Vincent Laforet, a freelance photographer based in New York, and formerly a staff photographer at the New York Times, has written an excellent article in Sports Shooter, which is a must read by photographers of all disciplines and styles.

As far as multimedia and audio slideshows are concerned, Vincent writes the following:

Photographers will have to think of themselves as visual storytellers - not just as still photographers. Photographers will becomes much more adept at producing multimedia content - not just boring slide shows with music - but ones that are truly engaging and original - basically they need to invent the next generation of storytelling - something we haven't seen before (i.e. they need to differentiate themselves from HBO Documentaries, and the other broadcast giants - not try to compete with them...) And this is key: Photographers need to brainstorm new ways to connect with their audiences and find new and original ways of generating income with these new "connections." Photographers need to be ACTIVELY involved in thinking up new ways of generating income in a fashion that will be acceptable to their modern, hip audience."

Note that he differentiates between multimedia content and "boring slide shows with music". Many so-called multimedia productions are nothing but slide shows with borrowed music...I was critical on this very issue while reviewing The New York Times' The Virgins of Albania a few days ago.

Thanks to Eric Beecroft for the heads-up on Vincent Laforet's article.

Here's another pro-multimedia article titled Photojournalism For the Web about Brian Storm of MediaStorm, which appeared today in the Wall Street Journal

Rant: G8's Shameless Behavior

Here's a rant that has nothing to do with photography, but has everything to do with lack of decency and disgraceful behavior.

As we know, the leaders of the so-called G8 nations are having a summit on the Japanese island of Hokkaido. While the G8 summits are usually conspicuous by their meaningless proclamations, this one was touted as an important meeting to discuss the world's current food shortages.

So as reported by the Times of London, we learn that the G8 summit has cost almost $600 million, enough to buy 100 million mosquito nets for the African nations whose population are still afflicted by malaria. This is bad enough, but I think the most repulsive is the news that the G8 leaders discussed the international food shortages during a sumptuous eight-course dinner banquet, having already eaten a five-course lunch.

What is the matter with these people?

Times of London's G8 Leaders Feast

Monday, July 7, 2008

Olivier Boëls: Holy Ashes

© Olivier Boëls/Zone Zero-All Rights Reserved

Holy Ashes is a photo essay by photographer Olivier Boëls, with the cooperation of anthropologist Lena Tosta’s and of their joint experiences with Hindu ascetics or sadhus.

Sadhus are ascetics who have renounced on the pursuit of the three main Hindu goals of life: kama (enjoyment), artha (practical objectives) and even dharma (duty). Sadhus are only dedicated to achieve moksha (liberation) through meditation and contemplation of God. They often wear ocher-colored clothing, symbolizing renunciation.

Viua Zone Zero, here's Holy Ashes

Wang-Fu Chun: Natives of NE China

© Wang-Fu Chun/Zone Zero-All Rights Reserved


Wang-Fu Chun is a freelance photographer, who moved to Beijing from Harbin in 2002. He has photographed the following topics, "Chinese On The Train" , "People of Northeastern China", "Northeast Tiger" and "Chinese Stream Locomotive", and was a winner at the 17th China Photographic Art Exhibition and a winner of the 3rd Gold Statue for Chinese photography.

Via Zone Zero, here's Wang-Fu Chun's Natives of Northeast China, an ethnographic gallery beautifully embellished with Chinese calligraphy.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Tyler Hicks: Kabul, Afghanistan

© Tyler Hicks/New York Times-All Rights Reserved

The New York Times brings us a nicely done (and very well edited, I thought) slideshow narrated by its accomplished photographer, Tyler Hicks.

Tyler Hicks' first trip to Kabul was in 2001, as Northern Alliance soldiers were fighting Taliban gunmen in and around the Afghan capital. There was a power vacuum at that time, and no restrictions on what could and could not be photographed...something which Tyler found to be very liberating.

He has returned every year since, and found Kabul to be a city in transition.

In the print edition of the newspaper, the section Week In Review carries the feature, and I must say that the layout of Tyler's two black & white photographs (one of which is above) that lead the article is superb...overall, an excellent photojournalism layout and a throwback to the days of LIFE. I'm also told that Tyler used a film camera...with B&W film.

Tyler Hicks' The Other Front:Kabul

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Alessandro Vincenzi: Mumbai Monsoon

Photograph © Alessandro Vincenzi-All Rights Reserved

Alessandro Vincenzi is an Italian photographer living in Madrid. A trained biologist, he joined Medecins Sans Frontieres and traveled the world with the humanitarian organizatio.

He has added new galleries to his website; one on transgenders and the other on the monsoon in Mumbai. The latter is classic street photography, and many of the gallery's photographs are full of humor, and 'decisive moments'.

Alessandro Vincenzi

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Michael Robinson Chavez: Senegal

© Michael Robinson Chavez/Washington Post-All Rights Reserved

Michael Robinson Chavez's work has often appeared on TTP, and for good reason; he's a consummate professional, and his work is not only consistently excellent, but is also varied...from conflict reportage to religious ritual, Michael has done it, and has done it well. Now that I met him at the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop (FPW), it's only natural that his work will be featured here even more frequently.

One thing for certain...Michael's taste in music is eclectic. One of the pieces of music he chose to accompany a slideshow of his photographs at FPW was "Allah Hu", the magnificent qawwali song of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. His most recent photo slideshow in the Washington Post is on Senegal, and one of its chapters has as its audio a song by the superb Senegalese artist Baaba Maal. I don't know for sure if Michael chose it or not, but I wouldn't be surprised if he did.

Here's A Changing Senegal from the Washington Post.

Foto Week DC


FOTOWEEK DC seeks to establish itself as the nation’s premiere photography festival, and to recognize the most talented photographers in the DC, MD and VA area. The achievements of area professional photographers will be recognized by their peers through submissions of work in six categories.

A panel of judges will select images to be awarded on Saturday, November 22 at the FotoWeek DC awards ceremony and gala to be held at the National Geographic Society’s Headquarters.

The sponsors are the National Geographic, PDN, Discovery and the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) among others.

As always, please read the rules' fine print before submitting your photographs.

I found FOTOWEEK DC's definition of "professional photographers" very interesting...it defines a professional photographer as someone who "publishes photographs in books, magazines, newspapers, or online regularly."