Monday, September 29, 2008


Over the next few weeks, I have decided to cook a few recipes from Jo Pratt's wonderful book -
In the Mood for Food
ISBN 9780718148584
- page 122

There are six chapters in the book: In the Mood.....for Being Healthy, Something Naughty but Nice, Some Comfort, Being Lazy, Being Extravagant and Being Romantic.

The Chianti baked meatballs are light in texture with lots of flavour. The meatballs are cooked in a rich tomato, red wine and basil sauce. This is a one pot meal, cooked in the oven from start to finish. The only alteration I made to the recipe, was to leave out the olives from the meatball mixture - olives aren't a huge hit in this family. The basil leaves are out of my garden, only small leaves are left because garden creatures have destroyed all the other leaves!

You can serve the meatballs with pasta, or potato mixed with rosemary and olive oil, this can then be cooked in the oven with the meatballs.

The recipe can be found here on Nigella's site and is a recipe recommended by Nigella's Admin! I too, would recommend this recipe and I know it won't be long before my husband requests this again.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bhutan: Land of Druk Yul

Photograph © Tewfic El-Sawy

I will be on my Land of the Druk Yul photo expedition from September 28 to October 18. A few days in London, then on to Bangkok where I meet the expedition's participants, then we fly off to Paro on Druk Air in the wee hours of October 3.

I have yet to pack all my photo gear, make sure that whatever needs it is recharged and in working order, and figure how to fit everything I need in my carry-on luggage...always an exercise in spatial ingenuity.

By necessity, posts will slow down while I'm traveling, but I'll try to set some "robot" posts before I leave, and if I have reasonable internet connections in Bhutan, I will keep TTP readers appraised of our progress.

The above image of a Cham dancer in Prakhar was “lomo-ized” via Lightroom.

NGS+ liveBooks: All Roads Film Festival

All Roads is a National Geographic initiative supporting films by and about indigenous groups and under-represented minority culture filmmakers. The festival is a multimedia event comprised of cutting-edge film, videos, live music, photography, and art from cultures around the world.

One of the facets of the initiative is the Photography competition which honors four photographers from Argentina, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan who used their work to advance awareness of the plights of their native countries and drive social change. The photographers will participate in the All Roads Film Festivals in both Washington D.C. (Sept. 25 to 28) and Los Angeles, California, (Oct. 2 to 5), where their images will be exhibited. The winners will be discussing their work during the Global Storytellers program and exhibiting at this year’s All Roads Film Festivals.

In addition to the festival’s programs, the photographers will be in the spotlight in San Francisco, during the Global Storytellers program. Details are of the venue are:

Monday, Sept. 29th, 2008
Reception: 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. (Refreshments & Light Fare)
Lecture: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Adobe Systems Inc.
601 Townsend Street @ 7th Street
San Francisco, California

“Global Storytellers” is hosted by a consortium including the National Geographic All Roads Film Project, Adobe Systems Inc, the Aurora Forum, DataColor, FiftyCrows Foundation and liveBooks.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Multimedia Muse

Three anonymous photographers created Multimedia Muse, a website that aims to rectify the substandard showcasing of multimedia by news websites, and that seeks to increase the "clickability" factor of multimedia projects.

Here's wishing them lots of luck.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Photo~Expedition: Theyyams of Malabar

Having forgotten that I would have little time to blog while on my Land of the Druk Yul photo-expedition to Bhutan in a few days, and even less time to properly announce my first photo-expedition of 2009, I decided to do so today!

The Theyyams of Malabar photo-expedition is specifically structured and timed to allow its members to photograph and document the most spectacular ritualistic dances of Northern Kerala: Theyyam.

Our itinerary will take us to the Malabar region of south India, and along with Malabari villagers, attend the Theyyam performances in local temples. Not only will we attend these unique rituals which are scheduled from February 22 to 25, but we shall also encounter smaller Theyyam rituals deep in the forests of Northern Kerala.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Alixandra Fazzina: Childbirth Perils

Photograph © Alixandra Fazzina/TIME

TIME magazine features a 14-picture essay on the perils of childbearing in Afghanistan. Photographer Alixandra Fazzina traveled to Badakhshan, where a harsh landscape and lack of infrastructure have given rise to an astonishingly high rate of deaths during childbirth. In this far flung area of Afghanistan, for every 100,000 babies born, 6,500 women will die.

I’m sure I won’t be the only one who thinks the above photograph is reminiscent -to use a cliche- of La Pieta, and there are many more in this essay that will move you.

Alixandra Fazzina has spent a decade chronicling war, violence, misery and distress, mainly in Africa and the Middle East. She photographed the notorious Lord’s Resistance Army and their victims in Uganda, the Miya-Miya rebels in Congo, and is currently working on a story about people-smuggling from Ethiopia and Somalia to the Yemen and Saudi Arabia. In addition to her work for British newspapers such as The Sunday Times, Guardian, Telegraph and Independent, her reportage features were published in Newsweek, The New York Times, Stern and Corriere.

TIME magazine's The Perils of Childbirth in Afghanistan

Monday, September 22, 2008

India: Theyyam

Photograph © REUTERS/Sivaram V.

The Boston Globe's The Big Picture blog has just posted 34 wonderful photographs from all around India. Many are of everyday life in this amazing country, and some are of unique festivals such as Theyyam, Ganesh Chaturthi, and Pulikali.

Sharp-eyed readers of this blog may wonder why I've posted two photographs of a Theyyam dancer today (scroll down two posts to see the other). Subscribers to my monthly newsletter already know the reason. It will be publicly announced on this blog in a few weeks!

India on The Big Picture blog

Leica S2: A 37.5 MPs Surprise

As reported by the British Journal of Photography, Leica launched an entirely new digital camera system destined to bridge the gap between professional digital SLRs and medium-format high resolution models.

The S2, with 37.5 million pixel resolution, is the first of many future models that will form part of the S system. The first model sports a 30x45mm CCD sensor, which is 56% bigger than a typical 35mm sensor. The camera will retail at around €20,000 (approx $30,000), and is aimed at fashion and commercial shooters who want medium format quality combined with a DSLR's speed and versatility.

POV: Portable Hard Drive Issues

Photograph © Tewfic El-Sawy

Recently returning from a trip to Mongolia, Nevada Wier recounts her frustrating experience with portable hard drives (aka digital wallets). It appears she purchased two of these gadgets before her trip and while in the field, these hard drives would not hold a charge, and eventually would not work.

Nevada suspects the battery issue was caused either because the only available electricity in Mongolia was 220AC or through generators. In the meantime and until this is resolved, she's withholding her endorsement of this hard drive model.

I think the lesson we all learn from this experience is (1) hard drives will fail when you least expect it, or where you have little chance of having them fixed quickly (this is also known as Murphy's Law); (2) to never take a newly acquired gadget, camera, accessory on a trip without having it been tested (although in this case, it seems that the drives worked well in a 110AC environment), and (3) always have a back-up solution.

News: Art Collection

All Photographs © Tewfic El-Sawy

I've recently sold 10 of my photographs to a major international bank headquartered in London. The distinctive aspect to this transaction is that the photographs are part of the bank's permanent art collection, and are printed on 40" by 25" (approx) canvases. My sales of photographs are traditionally either for stock or to magazines.

Most of the photographs chosen are of adivasis from Central India, and the rest are from Ethiopa's Omo Valley, Rajasthan and Bhutan.

The bank's art collection include photographic works by Philip Lee Harvey, Desmond Burden, Steve Bloom, Remi Benali, William Chapman, Boaz Rottem, among others.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


This recipe came from a recent food magazine, and is an advertisement feature for Green Giant sweetcorn, encouraging us to use sweetcorn as one of our five-a-day.

The potato topping caught my attention. You simply put cubes of parboiled potato mixed with cheese, on top of the fish pie filling, and now, I don't think I will ever top my fish pie with mashed potato ever again!

It's recommended in the recipe to use a large 340g can of sweetcorn, that's fine if you want lots and lots of sweetcorn, but I thought a 198g can would be more sensible. Fortunately, this was the right decision and gave just the right amount of sweetcorn to the finished dish. Obviously, some frozen peas can be used instead of the sweetcorn.

If you are reading this posting son, next time you have made a fraught journey home late at night after a hard week at work, this tasty, comforting fish pie will make the journey home even more worthwhile!! PS. I haven't forgotten your request for a crumble.

Serves: 4 people

You will need: A large ovenproof buttered dish.

700g potatoes, 15g butter, 75g grated mature cheddar cheese, 300g skinless salmon fillets, 400g skinless cod (or other white fish), 6 spring onions, 198g can of sweetcorn or alternatively some frozen peas.

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas 5.
2. Peel and chop the potatoes into small chunks. Boil for 8 minutes until tender and then drain.
3. Melt in the butter and then stir in the grated mature cheddar cheese.
4. Poach the fish for 5 minutes then cut into small chunks. Place in a buttered ovenproof dish.
5. Scatter over the spring onions and the can of drained sweetcorn, or alternatively the frozen peas.

For the sauce:

400ml semi-skimmed milk, 4 tsp cornflour, 1 tsp vegetable stock, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley.

1, Blend a little of the milk with the cornflour. Heat the rest of the milk in a pan, add 1 tsp powdered vegetable stock and when it is almost simmering, stir in the blended cornflour, until the mixture thickens. Cook over a low heat for 1 minute, then add the chopped parsley.
2. Pour the sauce over the fish. Top with the cheesy potatoes and then cook for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

I have been fortunate enough to be awarded some awards from my fellow food blogging friends.

My friend Jan over at What Do I Want To Cook Today has passed to me a 'Friendship' award - thank you Jan!

The 'Brillante Weblog' award has been given to me from Jan of What Do I Want To Cook Today - once again, many thanks Jan! Also the same award from Rosie of Rosie Bakes a 'Peace' of Cake, and Cakelaw of Laws of the Kitchen - to both of you thank you.

I am passing the above two awards to all the food bloggers who have visited my site over the last two years - thank you.

Cham Dances in New York City

Photograph © Tewfic El-Sawy

In elaborate dress and masks, monks from Bhutan performed Cham dances at the Merchant's Gate in New York City's Central Park yesterday. The dances by the monks-dancers were in celebration of the opening on September 19 of The Dragon’s Gift: The Sacred Arts of Bhutan at the Rubin Museum of Art.

The Rubin Museum and its Program Director, Tim McHenry (who served as the event's emcee), are to be commended for bringing such an event to the streets of New York City. The large-sized audience watching the whirling and twirling of the Bhutanese dancers had people who knew where Bhutan was, some wore Buddhist bracelets or fingered prayer beads, and a few photographers who seemed they had seen such dances before.

Despite it all, and at the risk of sounding churlish, I sensed that the Cham dances against the backdrop of modern glass-fronted buildings and yellow cabs didn't fully work. The full impact of the dances really comes to life in their natural 'habitat'...the authenticity of ancient monasteries, the age-worn cobblestones, the shy Bhutanese villagers as audience, are what completes the Tchechus and such dances.

The above photograph of a masked dancer is one of the many I made during the hour-long performance.

Canon 5D Mark II: Video

Here's a hands-on video demonstration of the new Canon 5D Mark II.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Islam: The Month of Ramadan

© Reuters/Sugit Pamungkas

© AP/Dar Yasin

Ramadan is the Muslim religious observance that occurs during the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, believed to be the month in which the Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad by the angel Gabriel. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims do not eat or drink anything from true dawn until sunset. Fasting is meant to teach the person patience, sacrifice and humility.

The Boston Globe's Big Picture has gathered 35 photographs of Muslims during Ramadan from across the world. Two of my favorite photographs are by Reuters' Sugit Pamungkas and by AP's Dar Yasin. The first is of Muslim women praying at a mosque in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia. The second is of Kashmiri Muslims inside the Jamia Masjid, or Grand Mosque, in Srinagar, India. Click on them for bigger versions.

If you haven't visited The Big Picture yet, you're missing out on a visual delight.

Vincent de Groot: Faces of Mali

Vincent de Groot took photography up in earnest in 2001, and progressively switched to digital photography since then. Born in the Netherlands, he worked and lived in Germany, then Switzerland and currently resides in France.

He used SoundSlides to showcase his two B&W galleries of Faces of Mali.

Gallery One

Gallery Two

Friday, September 19, 2008

Maynard Switzer: India

© Maynard Switzer

Maynard Switzer is a New York City based photographer, with his own studio specializing in beauty and fashion photography, working for a very diverse group of advertising, design and editorial clients. He recently broadened his creative interests by pursuing travel, portrait and landscape photography.

His biography reveals that he received his training at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and upon graduation apprenticed for Richard Avedon in New York.

Myanard's travel portfolio consists of galleries of Bolivia, Burma, Cambodia, China, Cuba, India, North America, Vietnam and Ladakh. Don't miss visiting his Landscapes as well...there are some lovely images of Pindaya in Burma and of Bolivia.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mark Seager: Riding The Buzkashi

© Mark Seager

Riding The Buzkashi is an audio slideshow by British photographer Mark Seager on one of the toughest horse-riding events in the world: Buzkashi. The photographs were taken in Afghanistan where he and a colleague were taught the rudiments of the game by Tajiks and Uzbeks.

Buzkashi is a traditional Central Asian team sport played on horseback (some say it's the precursor to polo), during which skilled riders who could grab a goat or calf from the ground while riding a horse at full gallop. The goal of a player is to grab the carcass of a headless goat or calf, evade the other players and pitch it across a goal line or into a target circle or vat.

(A previous photo-essay by Mark Seager was posted on TPP: Palestinian Taxi)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Washington Post: Daughters of Iraq

© Andrea Bruce/Washington Post

Here's a heartbreaking photo essay by Andrea Bruce published by The Washington Post titled "Daughters of Iraq".

In a suburb of Baqubah, women have signed up to become Daughters of Iraq, a U.S. military-funded program that pays women to search other women at checkpoints to prevent the spate of recent suicide attacks. Many of the recruits are widows whose husbands were killed by Sunni insurgents or Shiite militias. They receive a week of training and $280 monthly salaries.

I'm taken aback that The Washington Post published such photos. Aren't the editors worried it may increase the risks of retribution against these unfortunate women? I looked at each photograph, and the expressions on the women's faces are really heartbreaking. Many do not look directly at the camera lens...a reaction of many women in the Middle East when they're ashamed, or when their privacy is being breached. Those who stare back at the camera show incredible anguish and pain.

I really don't understand the purpose of this photo-essay. Is it to show that the US occupation is gathering supporters within the community? The accompanying article in The Post would be enough for that. Most of these women are widows with no financial means to survive except through frisking other women...essentially putting their lives on the line. There's no support's a means of livelihood. The option would be prostitution or begging. Oh, and the monthly $280? I'd bet that a large chunk of that goes to pay bribes to the "facilitators" who got these women the jobs.

The Iraqi translators for the US Military are often seen wearing balaclavas or hideous wrap-around sunglasses to hide their identities, so why show these women? Yes, these women should have refused to pose for the photographer (perhaps some did), but would they? Realizing they're a step away from penury if they didn't pose is a powerful incentive.

In my view, publishing these photographs (and the names of these women) is absolutely unwarranted.

Canon G10: It's Here Too

Also acccording to Market Watch, Canon will launch a new flagship G-series digital compact camera to replace the PowerShot G9. The G10 boasts 14.7 megapixels, and a Digic 4 processing engine, as used in the EOS 50D and 5D Mark II digital SLRs. Its 3-inch PureColor LCD has a claimed resolution of 461,000 dots.

Aimed at photo enthusiasts and professionals seeking a back-up camera, the PowerShot G10 is scheduled to be available in October, the PowerShot G10 digital camera will have an estimated selling price of $500.

I'm not sure if cramming 14.7 million pixels on such a small sensor is a good move. It certainly is good hype...but practically-speaking, the image quality may suffer. Real sample images should soon come out.

Canon 5D Mark II: It's Here

The wait is over! Canon announced its update to the wildly popular full frame EOS 5D

The EOS 5D Mark II has a 21.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor with DIGIC 4 Image Processor, a vast ISO Range of 100-6400 (expandable to ISO L: 50, H1: 12800 and H2: 25600), plus EOS technologies like Auto Lighting Optimizer and Peripheral Illumination Correction. It supports Live View shooting, Live View HD videos, and more. It can shoot up to 3.9 fps, has 9 AF points plus 6 AF assist points, a new 98% coverage viewfinder, a 3.0-inch Clear View LCD (920,000 dots/VGA) and a rugged build.

Just eyeballing the specs, I'm disappointed at the low fps rate. I had hoped that it would have at least a 5 fps rate. I would've been happy to give up some of the megapixel count for a higher fps. The new Nikon D700 has a much lower resolution, but can deliver 5 fps or even 8 fps with a grip.

According to MarketWatch (Wall Street Journal), the estimated street price is $2700 and will be available in November. This price point is phenomenal, and is lower than its competitors. A hands-on review is at DPReview.

Since many of my readers are from the United Kingdom, here's a fact I'm sure will irk them no end. UK websites report that the new Canon body will retail for £2,300. At current exchange rates, this is the equivalent of $4140, a hefty (and unjustifiable) premium of $1440 over US prices. Even considering that the UK price includes VAT, this is eye-watering, non?

The Mark II will record a movie clip for a maximum of 12 minutes at 1920 x 1080 and up to 24 minutes at VGA. Here's a clip demonstrating the Canon 5D Mark II's video (link)

As Canon's press release says: "Full-frame shooters rejoice!". And here's what its Evolution ad looks like now.

I'll follow this news throughout the day and update my post.

Thanks Eric! (you're the first to email me with this...don't you sleep?).

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Stanley Greene: Interview in Perpignan

Here's an impromptu (and very personal) interview with photojournalist Stanley Greene of NOOR agency in the streets of Perpignan. Stanley recently traveled to Afghanistan and shot a powerful photo story about the crisis of drug abuse and infectious disease.

I met Stanley while we were teaching courses at the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Mexico last June, and I must say that this interview is exactly what Stanley is all times tough and opinionated, but also immensely compassionate and considerate. I recall telling Stanley that it had been a privilege meeting him...I normally don't say stuff like that unless I seriously mean it. What I didn't say was that meeting him was -for me- one of the highlights of the workshop...but I hope he guessed that.


Photoburst is a travel photography daily contest, where the best photograph submitted by its contributors is uploaded, and showcased for that day. At the end of each month, the photographer of the best photo of the day is awarded with a B&H US$100 gift card.

Gastão Bettencourt, Pedro de Sousa and Pedro Patrício are the three photographers behind this project, which has attracted hundreds of travel photographers and their submissions. I've seen remarkable quality amongst the submissions, from well-established photographers with professionally-built websites, and from emerging photographers with Flickr galleries. The submissions range from landscapes to environmental portraiture, from candids to posed photographs.

The terms and conditions are simple and straightforward however, as in all contests make sure you carefully read them. Whether one takes part in the contest or not, Photoburst is a good location to get a daily travel photography fix.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Project Kashmir

"Project Kashmir" is a feature documentary co-directed by two American women, Senain Kheshgi and Geeta V. Patel, who also appear in the film. Both friends, Geeta's family is Hindu from India; Senain's is Muslim from Pakistan, displaced from India at the time of the partition. The two travel to cover the war in Kashmir: for over 50 years, an area divided by deep-seated tensions between Hindu and Muslim, Pakistan and India.

The Digital Journalist (link) carries an interesting article about the making of Project Kashmir...which is well worth a read to know what it took for these two women to make this documentary. "Project Kashmir" will air on PBS in 2009.

Project Kashmir from Digital Journalist on Vimeo.

I'm not sure whether the trailer manages to explain the background on the conflict over Kashmir, but for more information, the documentary's website is here

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Whilst looking at Delia's site for bbq inspiration I came across this tart recipe. We had a bbq yesterday, and I served this alongside all of our usual meats and salads.

I used vine tomatoes which I had bought previously and picked a few thyme leaves out of the garden. The goat's cheese was in the fridge, the puff pastry in the freezer and so I was ready to go, go, go!

Lovely, lovely tart and it looked so summery too!

The recipe can be found here.


For dessert after a bbq fruit is always a favourite of ours, and this recipe can either be cooked on the bbq or in the oven.


ISBN 1845730038 - Page 113

Serves: 6

3 ripe nectarines, 1 large orange, ¼ teaspoon almond essence, 55g butter, Greek Yoghurt, 6 crushed amaretti biscuits.

1. Halve the nectarines and remove the stones. Take a large square of thick foil and stand each half, cut side up, on the foil. Alternatively, place the cut halves in a suitable dish.
2. Pare the rind from half the orange and cut into very thin strips. Place the orange strips into a bowl and pour boiling water over, leave to stand for 10 minutes.
3. Squeeze the juice from the orange and stir in the almond essence.
4. Into each nectarine half, put some of the orange juice and a piece of butter, followed by some drained strips of orange rind. Then fold the foil to make a sealed parcel. Or alternatively, cover the dish with foil.
5. Cook the parcels, seam side up, over a medium heat on the bbq for about 10 minutes - or alternatively cook at 180°C/Gas 4 for 15 to 30 minutes, until the fruit has softened, and the butter has melted.
6. Open the parcels and top the fruit with Greek Yoghurt and the crushed amaretti biscuits.

Chico Sanchez: Lucha Libre

Photograph Chico Sanchez-All Rights Reserved

It's been a while since I posted a SoundSlides project, so here's Mexican Lucha Libre from Chico Sanchez, a freelance photographer based in Mexico City. Chico worked in Venezuela, collaborating with Reuters, European Pressphoto Agency, Agencia EFE, and freelances for various newspapers and magazines.

The slideshow is sub-titled as the fight between good and evil; a concept which is at the very heart of the Lucha Libre. The luchadores are traditionally divided into two categories, rudos ("bad guys")), who bend or break the rules, and técnicos (the "good guys"), who play by the rules, and whose moves are much more complex and spectacular.

It brings to mind Claudia Wiens' Las Luchadoras project at the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Mexico last June.

Previous TTP posts of Chico Sanchez's slideshows are here and here

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sanjit Das: Dongria Kondh

Photograph Sanjit Das-All Rights Reserved

Sanjit Das is a documentary photographer, specializing in social issues as seen through the backdrop of India’s changing social, economic and political landscape, and he's focused on documenting the lives and conditions of those who are being overlooked by modernization.

His work is published in books, book covers, newspapers and journals in India and overseas, including The Financial Times, The Independent, New York Times and the Washington Post. He also works for a range of UN agencies and NGOs.

From his wide array of photo galleries, I've chosen the one on the Dongria Kondh community of Orissa.

The indigenous Kondh tribes people have lived for generations in the forests of Niyamgiri hills, in Kalahandi and Raygoda districts of Orissa, surviving by foraging in the forests, raising livestocks and through agriculture. However, the arrival of a mining and refinery project on their ancestral domain is endangering their survival, and their tribal/religious identity.

Sanjit has also photographed the survivors of Cyclone Nargis in Burma in a remarkable slideshow photo-essay titled All They Could Carry. The photo essay is on the pages of the wonderful Foto8, the website of 8 Magazine, a photojournalism magazine.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I've Just Met My First Food Blogger!

I met up for the first time with Jan, from What Do I Want To Cook Today, in Shrewsbury this week.

We had planned to go on Farmer's Market Day, which is held on the first Friday of each month. Unfortunately, this wasn't to be, it had been raining all week and torrential rain was forecast for our meet up. We had no choice but to rearrange our day out, and although it rained for the first couple of hours it eased up and then we had dry, sun and yes - more rain!

We had a really enjoyable day out and even though we had never met before the conversation never dried up! Jan is wonderful company and we soon felt at ease with each other. What did we speak about - well everything under the sun really!

One of the shops Jan found fascinating was Setonaikai an oriental shop. This was an Aladdin's cave for cooks, and Jan, who has a passion for cooking dishes from around the world, found lots of ingredients she had been searching for and many others as well - take a look at her food blog for some inspiring mealtime ideas.

Lunch was at The Peach Tree Restaurant situated near the River Severn. We then made our way around parts of Shrewsbury that we didn't get time to see in the morning. A coffee stop, then the return train journey home.

We both agreed it had been a wonderful day and you never know, we might just do it again!

Canon 5D II: 9.17.2008?

A well-established, reputable and very popular French magazine, Chasseur d'Images, has posted an article on its website predicting that the much-awaited successor to the full-frame Canon 5D will be announced on September 17 at 8:00 am.

It is expected to have a full frame, like its predecessor, but with 21 megapixel Digic IV processor, a magnesium alloy body, Live View and video mode, with a price of around $3,600.

Why was September 17 chosen? Well, if you check the Canon Evolution ad you'll notice that the silhouette of the new camera is emerging out of the shadows following the progressive phases of the moon, and full moon is due on September 17.

Via Slash Gear (link)

Andaman Rising

Courtesy Andaman Rising Org

Every now and then appears a visual project of such quality that I cannot wait to get its website on the virtual pages of TTP. Such a project is Andaman Rising, and is a project of UNC School of Journalism. A sensitive, and very well-put project by young journalists.

Three-and-a-half years after the Asian tsunami hit southern Thailand , a team of young journalists traveled to the seaside province of Phang-nga to document the lives and culture of people living by the Andaman region.

As per the introduction of Andaman Rising:

"By the salty docks of Phang-nga they found stories of determination. In Buddhist temples they found tradition. On boats and in schools and on the streets of tiny villages, they found surprises, sadness, laughter and hope.

Welcome to life by the Andaman Sea."

via The Click (link)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

SanDisk: New 32 gb Compact Flash Card

SanDisk Corporation announced the 32-gigabyte (GB)1 SanDisk Extreme® III CompactFlash® (CF) card, the latest addition to its award-winning SanDisk Extreme III line. This new Extreme III CompactFlash has a 30MB/s (200x) read and write speed, and will retail for approximately $300 when it hits the stores in October.

Personally, I find such an uber-high capacity rather unnerving, since I'd be loath to rely on a single card during my photo-shoots. I much prefer using a handful of CF cards of 2 and 4 gigabytes to minimize risks of card failure.

However, let's not lose sight that new DSLRs with 20+ megapixels and video capabilities are expected to come to market. A 32 gigabyte card can replace videotape, and such a capacity means over 80 minutes of 100 Mbps, 10-bit, 4:2:2 HD video.

Jehad Nga: Somalia Through A Lens

Brightcove posted a 5th of September interview with Jehad Nga at the Frontline Club in London. Jehad is a talented emerging photographer who, for the last 3 years, worked in and around Mogadishu, Somalia.

In this video, he presents a selection of his images, and is interviewed by a rather verbose Rob Walker of the BBC World Service.

For more on Jehad Nga on TTP: (here) and (here)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Book: What Matters

I normally don't post about books that I haven't read, since I don't want any posts on this blog to be construed as advertising or being commercial, but I occasionally come across books (photography or otherwise) that I sense are too important to ignore. Such a book is What Matters.

What Matters features photo essays by James Nachtwey, Marcus Bleasdale, Paul Fusco, Anthony Suau and Sebastiao Salgado among others. Accompanying the photos are original essays by thinkers and leaders such as Samantha Power and Jeffrey Sachs.

The book was created by the New York Times bestselling author/editor David Elliot Cohen, and contains 18 socially-conscious essays by some of the best known photojournalists.

You can either buy the book directly from the website, or download a free PDF version of it (just clear the pop-up window blocker).

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Michael Robinson Chavez: Dharavi

© Michael Robinson Chavez/LA Times

Although Dharavi is routinely called "the largest slum in Asia," and frequently "the largest slum in the world," this is not correct. However, Dharavi is certainly unique among slums. It's a neighborhood, a slum, of 3 square kilometers right in the heart of Mumbai, the economic heart of India that pulsates with energy and activity.

Michael Robinson Chavez is a photojournalist at The Los Angeles Times, who is currently working on a long term project about urbanization in the developing world. It's not surprising to me that Michael has produced this multimedia piece. Meeting him at the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Mexico last June, he struck me as a forward-leaning individual, keen in trying new techniques to advance his'll see in this piece that he's using the continuous shooting to create a semblance of motion in his scenes...the so-called "flip book" technique.

I hope we see much more of Michael's work in this format.

For more from TTP on Michael Robinson Chavez, click here, here and here

Monday, September 8, 2008

Visa Pour L'Image: Philip Blenkinsop

Photograph © Olivier Laurent-Courtesy 1854/BJP

Philip Blenkinsop won the Visa d'Or News awards at Perpignan's photojournalism festival for his reportage of the China earthquake. The above photograph shows Diane Smyth of the British Journal of Photography (BJP) talking to Philip Blenkinsop (middle) and Stanley Greene (right) during the event.

1854, the blog of BJP, has a number of interesting interviews from the Visa Pour L'Image, and I've gleaned some snippets which I think are particularly food for least to me.

Philip Blenkinsop: "Photographers who expect to be paid for it (their work) are in the wrong business. You should be doing it because you’re passionate about issues and injustices and want to shine a light on them and give people a voice."

Brent Stirton: "We’ve created a 24-hour news cycle to feed an advertising machine. We’ve allowed our economic motivations to outweigh where we are as a civilisation in terms of documenting that civilisation. We’re not thinking about how long it takes to really think about issues. I don’t want to think about sensational pictures, I’m thinking about meaningful, intelligent images. But I also think that the internet is an opportunity for photojournalists."

Jean-François Leroy: "France is the cradle of photography. It gave photography to the world. This festival would not be possible anywhere else. I see photography attracting people in the US or in Italy, but it’s true that France is a bit of an exception."

Sunday, September 7, 2008

New York Times: Talibanistan

Photograph Lynsey Addario-Courtesy NY Times

It's been a long while since I've seen an intelligent and interesting article published in the New York Times' Sunday magazine, but Talibanistan (Right At The Edge) by Dexter Filkins (accompanied by the black & white photographs of Lynsey Addario) in this week's magazine is really a chilling read. Naturally, I would've liked to see more of Addario's intense photographs (perhaps also in larger format), but this article competes with the best of the British or French photo journalistic magazines.

It's quite a lengthy article, which goes into details of the situation in Pakistan and its borders with Afghanistan, and sheds light on the double-play by Pakistan's military and intelligence agencies that are simultaneously helping the Taliban, and taking money and aid from the United States. In other words, we're being played for suckers.

In summary, the reasons for Pakistan's double-play are: (i) it sees Afghanistan as an area of competition against India, its main rival-adversary and sees the Taliban as a counterweight to Indian influence, (ii) the growing popular hatred of the United States, and (iii) the Pakistani army is really incapable (and unwilling) to fight an insurgency in the tribal areas. Why should Pakistan extinguish the Taliban factions in their northern provinces if their very strengthening presence keep United States money flowing in the country's coffers?

Now what I'd like to see is a similarly candid article on the situation in Iraq, where we're paying millions of dollars on a monthly basis to the Sunni tribes so they don't kill our troops. Shining a light on the pervading corruption in Iraq would also be welcome. Next week...Sunday Times Magazine?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Black Rapid R Straps: Santa Knocks Twice

Photograph Courtesy David du Chemin-All Rights Reserved

Here's a story involving Black Rapid Camera Straps and two "Santas".

A few weeks ago, I had written here on TTP that David Du Chemin's review of the Black Rapid straps on his Pixelated Image blog, made them look very interesting, especially since I was on the lookout for new camera straps myself. I concluded by vowing that I'd ask Santa for one (or two) of these straps this coming Christmas.

Not long after my post was published, I received an email from David who offered to send me one as a gift!! An extremely generous gesture from someone I've never met (but certainly hope I will soon). The Black Rapid R Strap arrived in a well-presented pouch made of webbing and a couple of cool bumper stickers, and I immediately tried it on.

Oh what a difference! Let me say first that I normally wear my camera on a strap on my right shoulder, and I had the misfortune of having the camera with a 70-200 lens slip off, and fall to the stone ground of Angkor Wat. No damage, but my heart skipped a beat or two. With the Black Rapid R strap which I can wear bandolier-style, this danger is non-existent and I'm able to very easily (and quickly) bring the camera to my eye without the strap getting tangled up. The strap is comfortable and well made and its hardware seems very solid. The camera dangles to the side of my body, and is out of the way (and out of sight...almost) while I'm walking around. Perfect for my style of photographing.

My hat's off to the makers of the Black Rapid straps for producing them. Naturally, if it hadn't been for David Du Chemin's generosity, I'd still be waiting for Santa to deliver, and he can be fickle.

But hold on! The story is only half finished.

Ralph Childs, a great friend, a talented photographer and a frequent member of my photo-expeditions, reads my post, feels immense compassion at my "plight" and generously decides to gift me one as well. He has no idea that I received one from David, and orders two sets of the Black Rapid R for his use, and one that he sends from famine to feast, as the saying goes!

I have two Black Rapid straps now...and Santa knocked twice...early!! Life's good.

Munem Wasif: PDN INterview

Munem Wasif of Bangladesh is a popular figure at this year's Visa pour l'Image festival. He's just won the City of Perpignan Young Reporters award, and his exhibition of photos shot in and around his home country of Bangladesh is a highlight of the festival.

He prefers to photograph in balck & white, which he finds more seductive for his style of work, and lauds the emergence of non-Western photographers who document their own countries.

Via PDN Pulse (link)

The Telegraph's Photo Competition 2008

Photograph 4Corners Images-All Rights Reserved

The Telegraph, one of the main UK newspapers, announced a travel photography contest open to residents of the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland aged 18 years or over. The prizes are the new Nikon D700 kit worth £2,500, and the new COOLPIX P6000 camera worth £430.

The winning photographs will be published in Telegraph Travel on September 27.

Note: As a general comment, and as in the case of all similar contests, make sure you carefully read the terms and conditions, especially since misunderstandings between organizers and contestants can sometimes occur.

Friday, September 5, 2008


Blackberries are now in the hedgerows and the best news - they are free! Where I live we have an endless supply, in the hedgerows on the canal paths.

Wild blackberries are one of my favourite fruits and you can make endless desserts with them. The BBCGoodFood site have 33 recipes you can make using blackberries. UKTV Food have some wonderful recipes too.

The larger blackberries in the photograph are cultivated ones from my own garden and they taste surprisingly good, and I have mixed these with some wild blackberries. A few years ago I bought some thornless blackberry plants and this year I've picked a bowlful of berries from them almost every day.

The shortcake recipe I used was disappointing, the texture was quite dense and they were a little on the heavy side.

Nigella's shortcakes, a recipe I have made lots of times, would be perfect and I will give the recipe below for Nigella's shortcakes and the blackberry compote.


ISBN 0701168889 - Page 69

You will need: 1 baking tray, greased, 6.5cm round cutter

For the shortcakes:

325g plain flour, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 5 tablespoons caster sugar, 125g frozen unsalted butter, 1 large egg beaten, 125ml single cream, 1 lightly beaten egg white.

1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas mark 7
2. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in a bowl. Grate the butter into these dry ingredients and use your fingertips to finish crumbling the butter into the flour.
3. Whisk the egg into the cream, and pour into the flour mixture a little at a time, using a fork to mix. You may not need all of the eggy cream to make the dough come together so cautiously.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll gently to a thickness of about 2cm. Dip the cutter in flour and cut out - you should get 8 in all.
5. Place the shortcakes about 2.5 cm apart on the baking sheet, brush the tops with egg white and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of caster sugar.
6. You can now, if necessary, cover and refrigerate them for up to 2 hours.
7. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and let them cool for a short while on a wire rack.
8. Meanwhile, make the filling.


ISBN 0091905575 - Page 179

For the filling:

250g blackberries, 1½ tablespoon caster sugar, grated zest and juice of 1 orange, 150ml double cream.

1. Place half of the blackberries in a saucepan, add the sugar, orange zest and juice. Cover the pan and cook on a low heat for a few minutes. The fruit needs to be tender and hold its shape. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
2. Beat the double cream until it forms soft peaks. Split the shortcakes in two and fill with cream and fresh blackberries. Drizzle over the compote and serve.


The very talented Bella of Ma Cuisine Bien Aimee has passed onto me the Brillante Weblog Award - thank you Bella.
Please check out her wonderful blog which is a 'bakers delight'. Bella has recipes for peach cake, the most beautiful peach triangles, not forgetting her swan meringue and lots more.

Véronique de Viguerie Under Fire

A couple of weeks ago, a group of Talibs in Afghanistan killed 10 French soldiers (attached to the NATO forces), and were subsequently photographed by Véronique de Viguerie, a photographer working with the French news magazine Paris Match, wearing the French soldiers' uniforms.

A firestorm erupted in France following the publication of the photographs in the Paris-Match magazine, finding it indecent for a French magazine to show such images. Accusations that payment was made to the Talibs by the photojournalist were made, but rejected as false.

In the above clip (in French), De Viguerie explains her meeting with the Taliban fighters. 'It took some time, and we used some of our contacts out there'. She used a fixer/interpreter to get to the Taliban fighters, who will only meet with women reporters as they believe that men could be spies.

In her thirties, de Viguerie says that she wasn't too comfortable meeting them. 'But, when you follow the rules and when you have the authorization of their leaders, we become their guests'.

I'm not sure why it's Véronique de Viguerie who's under fire. Isn't it the decision of Paris-Match editors to publish?

Via The British Journal of Photography's blog (link)

New Canon To Eclipse Competition?

Canon added an intriguing teaser to its United States website. As you see, it's of a camera's silhouette against what I assume to be the moon, and the words 'Destined Evolution.' Click the image for a bigger version. If that's not an introduction to a successor to the Canon's 5D, I don't what is.

Rumors are rife all over the internet concerning the megapixel giants expected from Sony, Canon and Nikon at Photokina 2008.

Getty Images Grants-Editorial Photography

Photograph Lynsey Addario-All Rights Reserved

At the Visa pour l'Image in Perpignan, Getty Images announced that Lynsey Addario, David Gillanders and Eugene Richards were selected as the next three recipients of the Getty Images Grants for Editorial Photography.

Each recipient will receive $20,000 and collaborative support from Getty Images photo editors as they pursue their documentary photography projects.

Their portfolios were selected from a field of 153 applicants from 26 countries.

Lynsey Addario’s project, “Darfur,” will examine the ongoing conflict in western Sudan. David Gillanders’ project “Glasgow,” will focus on the culture of violent knife crime which earned Scotland’s largest city the title “Murder Capital of Europe.” Eugene Richards began work on “War is Personal” in 2006 as a series of photo and text essays focused on the lives of people in the US who’d been profoundly affected by the war in Iraq.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Bhutan Ritual Dances (Cham) in NYC

Photograph Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

In elaborate dress and masks, monks from Bhutan will perform Cham dances in public plazas and parks around New York City from Saturday, September 13 through Sunday, September 21, 2008. The monks-dancers will appear several times a day, in celebration of the opening on September 19 of The Dragon’s Gift: The Sacred Arts of Bhutan at the Rubin Museum of Art.

These dances are timely since they'll provide me with perfect warm-up venues before I leave for my Land of the Durk Yul photo expedition which starts on October 3. This photo-expedition is specifically scheduled to photograph similar Cham ritualistic dances in central Bhutan.

Although the dances in New York will be visually stunning, they can't compete with those performed amongst the ancient monasteries, and on the age-old cobblestones of Bhutan's villages, encircled by an audience of villagers and farmers.

The schedule of the New York City dances:

Monday, September 15:

12:30pm performance, Foley Square (intersection of Duane Street, Lafayette Street, Centre Street and Pearl Street)

Thursday, September 18:

1:00pm performance, Columbus Park (Chinatown- Baxter and Bayard)

Friday, September 19:

12:30pm performance, Battery Gardens Plaza

3:00pm performance, In front of Castle Clinton

5:00pm performance, Battery Place sidewalk (Greenwich and Battery Pl)

Saturday, September 20:

1:00 pm performance, Central Merchant’s Gate (59th and Broadway)

National Geographic Assignment

liveBooks, Inc., a provider of customized portfolio websites and marketing software for professional photographers, announced the creation of a new website for National Geographic Assignment, a division of the publication that handles commercial representation for its photographers. The site was recently awarded the Gold Award at this year's 38th Annual Creativity Awards.

National Geographic Assignment features work from more than two dozen National Geographic Assignment photographers, and "is a resource for organizations looking to hire assignment photographers in fields like still life and travel to underwater and landscape."

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

PDN's Visa Pour L'Image

Photo District News is publishing video postcards from Perpignan, where the annual Visa Pour L'Image is taking place from September 30 to October 7, 2008.

Naturally, we have to suffer through a sponsor message before getting to the video.

Charlie Mahoney: Ancestral Calling

Photograph Charlie Mahoney-All Rights Reserved

Here's a wonderful portfolio of images by Charlie Mahoney, with the evocative title of Ancestral Calling. (Click on Portfolios).

Bob and Dan O'Mahony are Charlie's great-uncles, who live in a farmhouse called Bawnea Kilbritain, outside Kinsale, County Cork in Ireland. I gather that Charlies spent a few days with them, researching his family's roots.

Many of us have similar ancestral callings, and ought to answer them. Charlie tells me that this photo essay may not have marketability potential...but who cares? I think that reconnecting with one's ancestors, roots and origins is infinitely more important.

The photographs in this gallery are just superbly composed, and the Irish light is perfect. It would've been an added bonus had the gallery included audio, as nothing sounds like rich Irish brogue!

A previous post on Charlie Mahoney: (Link)


Photograph Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

Muslims across the United States and the world are marking Ramadan, the holiest month of the Islamic year. Ramadan is believed to be the month in which the Qur'an was revealed to the Angel Gabriel, who later revealed it to the Prophet Muhammad.

Ramadan Mubarak to TTP's readers.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

EPUK Appeal For Killed Photojournalists

Editorial Photographers UK (EPUK) is launching an appeal for cash to help the families of a young photographer and a journalist killed during the recent conflict in South Ossetia.

Sasha (Alexander) Klimchuk was head of the independent photo agency Caucasus Images based in Tbilisi, Georgia. The 27 year old was freelancing for the Russian news agency Itar Tass at the time of his death. Giga Chikhladze, 30, was freelancing for Russian Newsweek.

They promised to take care of each other’s families should one of them die. But photographer Sasha Klimchuk and journalist Giga Chikhladze were killed in the same incident. Now their families need help.

This appeal to EPUK members – and to the wider photographic community – is to ask for donations to help the families of Sasha Klimchuk and Giga Chikhladze survive at this most difficult of times, and to help them build a future.

The Photo Award

The Photo Award was founded in Sweden in the year 2008, with the purpose of enhancing journalistic photography, and to strengthen professional photography. It also aims to inspire young photographers and get more people interested in photography.

The founder of Photo Award is news photographer Jonas Lemberg, who seeks to assist photographers who work in covering injustice in the world.

Partners in The Photo Award are various Swedish companies such as Berns Salonger, Ord & Bild, MPEG and RMP.

Note: As a general comment, and as in the case of all similar contests, make sure you carefully read the terms and conditions, especially since misunderstandings between organizers and contestants can sometimes occur. Check the sponsors and the promoters. In this particular case, here's a clause anyone interested in participating may want to consider very cautiously:

You hereby grant The Photo Award a non-exclusive, irrevocable licence in each entry throughout the world in perpetuity in all media for any use directly or indirectly connected with the Contest.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Vogue India: Crassness Or Business?

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

The New York Times features the article "Vogue’s Fashion Photos Spark Debate in India" which reports that Vogue India’s August issue presented a 16-page "vision of supple handbags, bejeweled clutches and status-symbol umbrellas, modeled not by runway stars or the wealthiest fraction of Indian society who can actually afford these accessories, but by average Indian people."

One of the photographs (above) shows a man -probably an impoverished farmer- modeling a Burberry umbrella in the magazine that costs about $200. According to the World Bank, some 456 million Indians live on less than $1.25 a day.

Many in the Indian press are up in arms about this, calling it "downright distasteful and tacky" and "vulgar".

I wholeheartedly agree, but prosperity in India is growing in leaps and bounds and luxury makers are falling over each other to market their goods in a effort to capture a share of the pie. I grudgingly force myself to swallow Vogue's spread's breathtaking tackiness by assuming that it created jobs for many people, who may not have had one otherwise, and hope Vogue paid the "real people" for their time as models....and given them prints of the photographs or the magazine itself, to bring cheer to their lives.

According to the article, an Indian columnist said “The magazine does not even bother to identify the subjects” of the photos. All I can say is that the editors of Vogue India must be mindless twits, and that hopefully someone will remind them that India has just suffered (again) floods which devastated the lives of millions of "real people".

Via Imaging Insider (link)

UPDATE (September 2) from an article in the UK's Independent:
"A spokeswoman for Indian Vogue editor Priya Tanna tonight said the magazine had been taken aback by reaction to the photographs but defended the decision to publish them, and said the poor 'models' had been paid 'a significant amount."

I'm glad the atrocious judgment and arrogant behavior by those involved at Vogue India is being denounced by the Indian press, the Western media and by bloggers. I would like to find out who the photographer of the editorial spread is, and what his/her position is. I'd also like to know how much were the "models' paid by Vogue India, assuming that it's not a lie.