Saturday, January 31, 2009

Janet Jarman: Mexico

Photo ©Janet Jarman-All Rights Reserved

Janet Jarman is a freelance photographer and a multimedia storyteller currently based in Mexico. She has worked extensively in Latin America and Asia, and produces a number of documentary projects which explore immigration issues, globalization and sustainable development.

Janet's photographs and essays appeared in The New York Times, Geo, The Smithsonian Magazine, Times Asia, Fortune National Geographic Traveler and other publications, and her work received awards in POYi, PDN's Photography Annual and Best of Journalism.

I chose an image from Janet's Mexico Traditions' gallery for this post, but I also recommend you visit her multimedia projects, especially The Chichimeca Story...not only a very well produced multimedia story, but a worthwhile social project in northern Mexico.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Rant: Canon 5D Mark II & Battery

I haven't ranted for quite a while. No, correct that...I haven't ranted about a photography matter for quite a while. I've ranted about lots of stuff on this blog and even more off this it's time for a nice rant about Canon and its marketing wisdom.

If I recall correctly, the Canon let it be known that its 5D Mark II would be available at major photo retailers by the end of November 2009, in time for the holiday season. Now we know that Canon dropped the ball on that one, with the 5D Mark II still unavailable at B&H (although it's currently taking pre-orders according to 1001 Noisy Cameras), Crutchfield is out of stock, while Amazon has one for sale but at a premium.

Most of us have an innate fear of scarcity. The prospect of product being unavailable when we want (or need) it is a powerful marketing tool which spurs consumers to research where the product is available, and purchase. I believe this is what Canon is doing.

I was extremely lucky in having found one when I visited B&H and just asked the salesclerk for one. So here's what I think: Canon makes this camera available to retailers slowly and selectively. The more there's a perceived scarcity for this product, the more buzz there is (like this post)..the more buzz the more publicity. Am I hearing justified complaints that this strategy is disrespectful to its customer base? The answer is yes. Am I hearing that Canon through this strategy is, as one of my friends recently wrote me, helping non-mainstream retails stores to really soak us? The answer is also yes.

Now to top off the rant, let me mention the battery: the LP-E6 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion for the Canon 5D Mark II is also on back-order (the favored euphemism for not available) at mainstream retail stores...however may be occasionally found at other stores for a hefty premium. Another soaking.

Two days ago I ordered two spare batteries from a non mainstream online store, and I'm still waiting a confirmation of my order...

UPDATE (February 3): Having seen that the batteries were listed as back-ordered on the online store Digital Foto Club, I called to inquire as to the status of my order. Steve, the employee who took my call, told me they had received Canon shipments the day before but he would check and let me know if it included the batteries. A short time later, Steve did call to say the batteries were not expected soon and that he'd go ahead and cancel my order through (which was confirmed).

I think that's excellent service from Digital Foto Club...honest and straight forward.

Chobi Mela V: Photo Festival

Chobi Mela V is in full swing in Dhaka, with over sixty exhibitions, thirty-five participating nations, well over a thousand images, and over fifty visiting artists from Asia alone. There are live broadcast of important events, especially the video conference between Mahasweta Devi, Noam Chomsky and Stuart Hall, as they provide their take on 'Freedom'.

According to founder Shahidul Alam, mobile exhibitions, now a trademark of the festival, 10 rickshaw vans driving through the streets of Dhaka, will move the festival away from galleries to the more public spaces of football fields and open air markets.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chinese New Year

Photo ©REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad-All Rights Reserved

I've been remiss in acknowledging the Chinese Lunar New Year which was just heralded a few days ago, and which is being observed by ethnic Chinese and others around the Gong Xi Fa Cai!

The above photograph is courtesy The Big Picture blog of The Boston Globe, and is of a Chinese man reciting prayers at a temple in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Foundry Photojournalism Workshop 2009

I've posted about the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop 2009 before, and it continues to progress very nicely. If you're passionate about photojournalism, this workshop offers a unique opportunity to access extremely interesting classes. The workshop's costs is kept as low as possible and the instructors provide their services for free.

Some of the instructors are Michael Robinson-Chavez, Andrea Bruce, Tewfic El-Sawy, Adriana Zehbrauskas, Ben Rusnak, Ami Vitale, Poul Madsen, Henrik Kastenskov, Eros Hoagland...

My class synopsis is as follows:

Introduction to Multimedia Storytelling

"Tewfic El-Sawy will teach a multimedia class that allows its participants to concentrate on the story, rather than on the application. The purpose and aim of the class is to show photojournalists how to make quick work of slide show production, using their own images and audio generated in the field, to produce a cogent photo story under the simulation of publishing deadlines. Most of the class’s time will be spent photographing in the field, while indoors time will be devoted to weaving the material into photo stories.

This class will require will use Soundslides software, and either Audacity or GarageBand for audio. Participants will need to have Digital Audio Recorders (such as the Zoom H2).

Here’s a sample of a SoundSlides produced by Mike Hutmacher (who attended Tewfic’s class during the Mexico City Foundry Workshop) for The Wichita Eagle newspaper

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sergio Pitamitz: Travel Photographer

Photo ©Sergio Pitamitz -All Rights Reserved

Sergio Pitamitz is an Italian travel and wildlife photographer, currently based in Varese, Italy where he works as staff photographer at Latitudes Magazine, and is represented by Corbis and Getty.

Sergio, at that time represented by SIPA Press, was the first Western photographer to gain permission from the Iranian government to photograph in Shiraz, the lost city of Bam and Persepolis. His wildlife photographs have been awarded semi-finalist recognition at the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2008.

His images have been published in Le Figaro Magazine, Newsweek, Conde Nast Traveller, Travel & Leisure, Geo and various publications of the National Geographic Society.

His website is categorized in themes not in countries, but I chose this image of a couple in Buenos Aires dancing the tango as one of the most striking.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Asim Rafiqui: The Idea of India

Photo ©Asim Rafiqui -All Rights Reserved

Asim Rafiqui, a US photographer currently based in Sweden, was recently awarded a grant by the Aftermath Project for his project, "The Idea of India: Religious and Cultural Pluralism as Resistance to Sectarian Conflict," an exploration of the aftermath of religious conflict in India through documenting pluralist landscapes, shared sacred sites, shared cultural traditions and efforts at reconciliation within divided communities.

He is now authoring The Idea of India, a fascinating and certainly topical blog documenting his journey through what he calls an alternative India, describing his experiences and thoughts of what he describes as "the complex, pluralist, shared heritage of India’s peoples" through his own brand of photography and intellect. There's no doubt that this is an impressive undertaking both in size and in scope...especially since Asim seeks to also include Pakistan and Bangladesh in his quest to expose the shared heritage of the countries of the sub-continent, as it is sometimes called.

On his blog, Asim writes that this project " an attempt to give complete expression to a way of working I have always coveted - a union of photographic and intellectual pursuits, each inspiring the other and each being executed without concern for rules, conventions, deadlines, politics and prejudices (other than my own, of course)."

I encourage you to read Asim's blog, reflect on his thoughtful analyzes, enjoy his photographs, bookmark it or subscribe to its RSS .

I anticipate many of us wish him well on this project. I know I do.

Monday, January 26, 2009

One Shot: Eric Lafforgue: Theyyam

Photo ©Eric Lafforgue -All Rights Reserved

This striking portrait is of a Theyyam performer in the Malabar region of Kerala, and is by Eric Lafforgue, a talented travel photographer who lives in Toulouse, France.

In anticipation of my forthcoming Theyyam of Malabar photo-expedition in the same region of India, I approached Eric a few days ago to ask for tips, and it is then I discovered he not only produces striking images but is also generous with his advice.

The Travel Photographer blog has already highlighted Eric's travel photography work here.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I always plan dessert first and then the main course. A light dessert means we can have a more substantial dinner and vice versa!

Clouds of meringue were piled high over the fruit filling, and then cooked slowly until the outside is crisp and the meringue underneath still soft. After cooking meringue topping made this way, there is definitely no turning back to the soft-topped meringue of old.

Delia Smith put me on the right track with her meringue topping many years ago, basically, all you have to do is make the meringue in the usual way, but the secret is then to cook the meringue topping for 45 minutes at Gas Mark 2/300°F/150°C.

The fruit combination was a glorious match, the plums were poached in a light stock syrup with a cinnamon stick. Frozen raspberries were then added to the cinnamon infused plums.

A layer of crushed amaretti biscuits were added to the base of the dish before spooning over the poached fruit.

Next time I make this, I will poach my plums for a shorter time. They continued cooking whilst the meringue was getting nice and crispy on top. The original recipe cooks the meringue for only 5 minutes and obviously the fruit underneath the meringue isn't going to cook anymore.

The inspiration for this dessert came from a January 2009 Waitrose recipe card.

If you can't get into a Waitrose store, they have just brought out Waitrose Live online, which is the current issue of their free Seasons Winter Cookbook 2009. I always look forward to picking up my copy at the checkout, but now everyone can get to look at it. Hope you enjoy turning the pages online!

POV: The Shameful War

Photo © Tyler Hicks/NYTimes-All Rights Reserved

My point of view regarding the calamitous massacre of the Palestinian people in Gaza by the Israeli military is supported by a multimedia production by The New York Times titled "A War's Many Angles" with the photographs (and voices) of Tyler Hicks and Moises Saman.

The former documents the devastation and the ruination of Gaza and its inhabitants, while the latter shows us the results of Hamas' rockets on Sederot, and the funerals of a handful of Israeli soldiers (the majority of whom were killed by "friendly" fire).

The New York Times, clearly stung by justified accusations of its consistent bias towards Israel as evidenced by the deluge of comments (many more were censored by its editors) on its website, and by its distasteful track record of obfuscation and semantic games during the past 8 years, has tried to present the two sides of this shameful war. Any fair minded person will conclude very rapidly that the destruction wrought on Gaza was unwarranted, inhumane, a violation of international law and tantamount to ethnic cleansing.

As our newspapers have unfortunately espoused an utter lack of objectivity as to this conflict, I rely on the foreign press to tell me what I deem is close to the truth.

For instance, Dominic Waghorn, a reporter with the UK's SKY television station, writes this in The Independent:

"Gaza is entirely surrounded by a security fence; Israel was able to enforce its ban with ease. It also declared the neighbouring area a closed military zone. Military police repeatedly moved us back from the border; those who flouted the rules were detained. There were only one or two places where we were allowed to film live that had a view of Gaza. We nicknamed one the Hill of Shame, a mound a mile or two outside the northernmost tip of Gaza. On it was camped a circus of news crews more than 100 strong. On weekends, Israeli war tourists – there is no other way to describe them – joined the scene, cheering the large explosions in the distance. I wondered how Israelis would view Palestinians doing the same. And during the week, a constant parade of Israeli experts and officials was on hand to spin the way they wanted us to view the war. "

Israeli "war tourists" cheering the large explosions? I thought it was only Palestinian children who did that when we were attacked on September 11, 2001.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Travel Photographer's Newsletters

As the loyal readers of this blog know, I author a monthly newsletter which is emailed to subscribers on my mailing list. The newsletter provides updates on my photo-expeditions and my photo galleries and is proving to be very popular, with new subscribers registering almost every day.

My photo expeditions are usually by invitation (or by referral by a past participant) only, and it is through these newsletters that I invite subscribers to join. So if you're interested, you can use the mailing list box on the right of this page. Your privacy is assured by SafeSubscribe.

Alessandra Meniconzi: Hidden China & Artic

I previously posted on this blog on Alessandra Meniconzi's new book Hidden China, which has now been published, and is available at bookstores. The press release reads in part: "This illustrated book explores some of the most remote regions of China and brings to life a world far removed from the great metropolises, a world nearly forgotten, where the people continue to live their traditional lifestyles largely undisturbed."

Alessandra Meniconzi is a Swiss photographer fascinated by the lives and traditions of indigenous people in remote regions of the world. After many years of working in Asia, she traveled in Iceland and became interested in the Arctic. She is the sole photographer for the books Hidden China (2008), Mystic Iceland (2007), and The Silk Road (2004), and she is currently working on the new book about Tibet, Arctic and Himalaya.

Photo © Alessandra Meniconzi-All Rights Reserved

Alessandra tells me she's preparing herself to travel shortly to the Arctic, traveling with an Inuit hunter...quite a departure from her past work in Asia. I am certain her photographs of this icy region will soon be published in an equally wonderful book.

Friday, January 23, 2009

B&H's Canon 5D Mark II Video

B&H, the camera and video superstore, and one of New York City's landmarks, judging by the number of visitors (okay, I made that up but it could be true), has put up a short video reviewing the new Canon 5D Mark II.

The review is not too technical and will appeal to those who are looking to upgrade their existing DSLRs to this latest (and very popular) product.

Photographers In Conflict

Here's an extremely interesting project produced by Goran Galic and Gian-Reto Gredig involving insightful interviews from 32 leading photojournalists

Following Abu Ghraib and the Asian tsunami, these 32 photographers were invited by Goran and Gian-Reto to a bare black painted studio, and were photographed and interviewed via videos.

According to the Photographers In Conflict website, the two artists by "isolating the photojournalists and placing them in front of their camera, reverse the asymmetrical power relationship between photographer and subject, and explore the self-perception of these photographers."

Some of the photographers/photojournalists are Philip Blenkinsop, Guy Calaf, Stanley Greene, Ben Lowy, and Shaul Schwarz.

Photographers In Conflict
is also a publication in newspaper format which is available from the website.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Book: Steve Bloom: Living Africa

Photo © Steve Bloom-All Rights Reserved

While Steve Bloom is certainly among the top ranked wildlife photographers in the world, he is also a superb photographer of cultures. Born in South Africa, he moved to England in 1977, where he worked in the graphic arts industry for many years. In the early nineties, during a visit to South Africa, his interest in wildlife photography emerged, and within a short time he had swapped his established career for the life of a wildlife photographer.

Thames & Hudson recently published Steve's book Living Africa, which combines the continent's vibrant tribal cultures and its magnificent landscapes in more than 200 photographs. My favorite photographs are of the Surma and Mursi tribals of the Omo Valley in Ethiopia.

TTP previously featured Steve Bloom's work here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ayin: Inner Mongolian Tribe

Photo © Ayin-All Rights Reserved

Ayin is a Mongolian self-taught freelance photographer, and is a member of the Photographer Association in China, and was awarded the honor of being one of "The Ten Best Photographers in Inner Mongolia", along with numerous photographic awards in China. In 2007, he was one of the four award recipients of the 4th Annual All Roads Film Festival Photography by the National Geographic.

His decision to document the disappearing Mongolian heritage led to an odyssey to record the live stories of the last Mongolian tribe in Inner Mongolia.

This is ethno-photography at its best.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

America's New Dawn

Courtesy The Huffington Post

My personal sense of elation in seeing Mr Obama being sworn is as 44th President of the United States today is nothing short of extraordinary. As a naturalized United States citizen, the past 8 years had dimmed my pride in being an American, but today, it surges back again...more powerful than it ever was.

I can't wait to travel abroad to, as I frequently do, fly back home through Newark airport. For the first time in these 8 years, instead of averting my eyes, I will pause and look up with pride at the photograph of the US President which hangs on the wall of the arrival hall. Just a small respectful gesture perhaps, but to me, one of considerable and profound significance. It will remind me of the emotion I felt when I entered the United States for the first time.

May Mr Obama be all what he promises to be.

Excerpted from Mr Obama's Inaugural Speech:

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth.

And because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict or blame their society's ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.

Monday, January 19, 2009

My Show Off: Qutb Uddin Dargah

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

A friend (who'll remain anonymous for the time being) sent me various photographs of Indian Muslims, part of a project he's working on. Feeling pangs of envy at the quality and style of his work, I rummaged through my inventory and found this photograph of a scene at the Qutb Uddin Dargah in Delhi.

One of my favorite writers, William Dalrymple, visited the darghas of Delhi and wrote this in his The City of Djinns:

" All around milled the devotees: pilgrims, dervishes and sannyasin, labourers and merchants, scholars and soldiers, opium addicts, petty thieves...Some sat crossed-legged on the cool marble floor; others joined the queue to enter the tomb. As they stood waiting, a dervish in a light woolen tunic fanned them with a large pankah embroidered in gold with sacred Kufic calligraphy. In one corner sat a qalander - a holy fool- deep in animated conversation with an invisible djinn."

Some of you will recognize this was photographed with a film camera (Canon 1v), and is not a digital file. The dargah of Qutb Uddin is on the Theyyam Photo~Expedition itinerary which is set to start on February 19, 2009.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


According to Google, in 2008 meatballs come in at No 2, on their list of the fastest rising recipes for the UK. I couldn't help smiling when I saw this - I had no idea they were so popular.

In last weekends Times Magazine, Gordon Ramsay tells us, out of all the recipe requests he gets, meatballs is still the most popular.

I didn't have these as a child, I didn't feed these to my children, and it's very rare for me to even consider making them.

I've only ever made meatballs occasionally - Nigella's recipe, Jo Pratt's and now Gordon's. All of them went beautifully with pasta. I am forgetting, of course, that I have made lamb kofta meatballs to go with curry a few times.

The quantity of meat used in the original recipe was reduced, Gordon uses 500g each of beef and pork mince to feed 6 people. I used 250g each of beef and pork mince, this made 24 meatballs (enough for two people for two meals). I made the full quantity of tomato sauce though. We had half of the tomato sauce and meatballs for diiner and I froze the other half for a rainy day.

Sage and parsley was used for the meatballs, if I was to make this again, I would perhaps use rosemary and parsley or thyme and parsley. I wasn't too sure about the sage and parsley combo.

The Times Online recipe can be found here.

Mark Edward Harris: Inside Iran

Photo © Mark Edward Harris-All Rights Reserved

Iran has been grossly maligned for political reasons by the current administration, and most Americans know it as a member of the ridiculous "Axis of Evil" moniker used by Bush. The book Inside Iran by Mark Edward Harris may redress this view.

In 1986 Mark Edward Harris set off on a four-month trek across the Pacific and throughout Southeast Asia, China and Japan. The images created on that trip brought attention to his travel/documentary photography. He since has visited and photographed in over 60 countries. His editorial work has appeared in publications including Life, Stern, GEO, Conde Nast Traveler, Islands, Spa, Playboy, Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, Elle, American Photo, The New York Times, The London Times, The Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine as well as many in-flight magazines.

The above photograph of an elderly couple in presumably rural Iran is just wonderful.

with Mark with an Iranian TV website on the book Inside Iran.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Eric de Vries: Cham Muslims of Cambodia

Khmer Islam is an audio slideshow produced by photographer Eric de Vries of the Khmer Islam, known as the Cham Muslims. These are members of an ethnic group in villages near the Mekong and Tonle Sap river in Cambodia. Most Chams in Cambodia are involved in fishing and agriculture.

Eric photographed the series at the Islam Spiritual Center, Russei Chrouy village, Masjid-Alrahmani mosque north of Phnom Penh, at the Masjid Thom Dubai mosque on the borders of Boeung Kak lake and at the Nurunnaim Mosque and Chrang Chamreh village on National Road 5.

Eric de Vries lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where he's been traveling since 2000, and TTP has featured his work on a previous post.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Shawn Baldwin: Egypt

Photo © Shawn Baldwin-All Rights Reserved

Shawn Baldwin is a photographer based in Cairo, Egypt, whose work regularly appear in The New York Times. For the past 10 years he covered major news events in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East including the war in Iraq.

His work was recently been exhibited in New York and was published in most major publications including Time, Newsweek, US News, the Guardian and Le Monde. In addition to editorial work, corporate assignments included J.P. Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Nike.

Shawn's galleries are predominantly of the Middle East; Egypt (which I feature here), Iraq, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea and Algeria. His Egypt gallery is varied, with photographs of mass weddings to political rallies. His photograph of the sugar cane juice being poured by an anonymous hand and the expectant look on the young girl's face framed by the tap is a lovely story-telling composition.

I also featured Shawn's work on Cairo with the New York Times in a previous TTP post.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

NYT: The Girls of Mirwais School

Image © Danfung Dennis/NYT-All Rights Reserved

"Then the man pulled Shamsia’s burqa from her head and sprayed her face with burning acid. Scars, jagged and discolored, now spread across Shamsia’s eyelids and most of her left cheek. These days, her vision goes blurry, making it hard for her to read."

The New York Times features Danfung Dennis' photographs in a slideshow The Resilience of Kandahar. We all remember how 11 young Afghan schoolgirls were injured last November when they were sprayed with acid by men who were enraged by their attending school. An accompanying article by Dexter Flikins is worth reading, and provides context to the slideshow.

It's a testament to these 11 young schoolgirls' courage and resilience that nearly all of them are back at the Mirwais School for Girls. Almost all the 1300 female students in this deeply conservative community of Kandahar have returned as well.

Shamsia, one of the girls who was badly disfigured in the attack, is quoted as saying:" “The people who did this, do not feel the pain of others.” By the way, the name of this brave girl means 'sunshine', and she's the one on the right of the picture above..

If Afghanistan ever returns to be a country where these atrocities no longer occur, it'll be because of Shamsia and her ilk...not because of the corrupt governance of Hamid Karzai and his entourage.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dima Gavrych: Holi

Image © Dima Gavrych-All Rights Reserved

Hopefully this will brighten up the wintery day we have here in New York!

Dima Gavrych is an Ukranian-born New York City based documentary and travel photographer. Over the past decade, he has works for MSF/Doctors Without Borders, the UN Population Fund, and major news organizations such as the Associated Press, Agence France Presse, European Press Photo Agency, Reuters and Bloomberg News.

He has also been published in the New York Times, TIME, People, The Independent, Marie-Claire, Stern and Newsweek.

His documentary portfolio include varied topics, from Nigerian prostitutes to Uganda's Forgotten War, but from his travel portfolio I chose to feature Dima's Holi gallery for its explosive colors.

Holi is also called the Festival of Colours, and is a popular Hindu spring festival. People throw colored powder mixed with water at each other. It is said that the playful throwing of the colored powders has a medicinal significance, as the powders are traditionally made of Neem, Kumkum, Haldi, Bilva, and other medicinal herbs prescribed by Āyurvedic doctors.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

TTP's Photo Expeditions: Update

It has been an extraordinarily busy 2-3 weeks for my photo-expeditions. As readers of this blog and subscribers to my monthly newsletter know, I'm planning three amazing photo-expeditions for 2009.

Since I've announced the three itineraries almost simultaneously, I've been receiving commitments to participate, a torrent of questions, requests for testimonials, queries as to flights and hotels, etc. from various interested photographers.

The first to start is the Theyyams of Malabar photo-expedition and it is oversold.

The Gnawa Festival in Essaouira photo-expedition in June 2009 also seems to be on its way to be fully booked as I just received bookings for the last available two spaces.

The Bhutan: Land of Druk Yul photo-expedition is close to be filled up, although it's scheduled for September...nine months away!!! Some of the participating photographers have already booked their Druk Air seats.


NGS: 2008 Photos of the Year

The National Geographic's Editor in Chief Chris Johns selects some of his favorite photographs published in the magazine in 2008.

The French believe, rather surprisingly, that tastes and colors are not issues to be discussed, and being certain that there were much more arresting photographs published in the 2008 NG magazines, I wholeheartedly agree in this case. To each his own.

If you expect detailed descriptions and explanations as to how each photographer captured the images shown in this clip, you'll be disappointed. It's aimed at readers of the National Geographic magazines who like photography, rather than serious or advanced photographers.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Paul Panayiotou: Vietnam

Image © Paul Panayiotou-All Rights Reserved

I had quite a bit of trouble choosing which of Paul Panayiotou's galleries would I feature on The Travel Photographer blog. Would it be his work on Cuba, Egypt (very tempting) or Vietnam? And how could I leave out Cambodia, Spain and Cyprus? Finally, I decided on's my blog after all.

Paul is a freelance travel photographer based in London, and whose work appears in The Observer, The Guardian, the Sunday Telegraph, as well as TIME magazine, Four Four Two, Rough Guides, and Fodor's.

The above photograph is of Cao Dai adherents in Tay Ninh.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


In the February 2009 Olive Magazine on page 48, they are giving suggestions for, 7 meals for £35.00.

1. Chicken hotpot
2. Thai burgers with salsa and sweet potato wedges
3. Lamb dhansak
4. Beef, mushroom and red wine pies
5. Skinny pizza
6. Porcini and spinach risotto
7. Herb and pea fishcakes

All of the recipes read really well, and I have already lined up the lamb dhansak, to make this coming week.

I never feel the need to eat meat every day, and this vegetarian risotto was a winner. In fact, delicious.

It took about 20 minutes for the rice to absorb most of the stock. If you like your rice to absorb all of the stock, then another five minutes or so should take care of this.

If you don't have any dried porcini, it doesn't mean that you can't make this recipe - just leave it out!

I used Riso Gallo Organic Arborio Risotto Rice, which I bought from a large Tesco Supermarket.

To serve 2 people:

You will need:

25g dried porcini, 50g butter, 1 small finely chopped onion, 1 clove garlic crushed, 200g sliced chestnut mushrooms, 150g risotto rice, a glass white wine, 750ml vegetable stock (kept simmering), 100g washed spinach, a few shavings Parmesan.

1. Soak the porcini in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid through a sieve to remove any grit and keep for the risotto. Roughly chop the porcini.
2. Heat the butter in a wide shallow pan and cook the chopped onion and garlic until softened. Add the chestnut mushrooms to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, add the porcini and risotto rice and stir until coated.
3. Pour in the wine and bubble until it is all absorbed. Gradually add the simmering stock and porcini soaking liquid stirring until the rice is tender but still has a little bite. Stir through the spinach until just wilted.
4. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan shavings.

Ivan Gonzalez: Devil Dancers of Naiguata

Image © Ivan Gonzalez-All Rights Reserved

Here's an audio slideshow with the photographs of Venzuela photographer Ivan Gonzalez of the Devil Dancers of Naiguata. This is a Venezuelan traditional ritual celebrated during the Roman Catholic feast day of Corpus Christi, and symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Its audio track is only in Spanish, but the purpose of the dancing is obvious.

Ivan Gonzalez has worked as a photojournalist since 1998, collaborating with Associated Press (AP) and Spanish agency EFE news service, among other local Venezuelan magazines and newspapers. He worked as top photo editor at Venezuela's 'El Nacional' newspaper, and currently directs the photo reporting at 'El Cadena Global' daily newspaper.

I have previously posted on this Afro-Venezuelan tradition near Venezuela’s Caribbean coast which has been practiced since the late 18th century.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

AP: Gaza Audio Slideshow

Here's an audio slideshow Israeli Forces Attack The Gaza Strip with photographs by Associated Press photographers showing the destruction of Gaza.

(Via duckrabbit multimedia).

When you're done watching, here's one of the few honest commentator's opinion:

Robert Fisk of the Independent.

WSJ's Photo Journal: Ashura

Photo © Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters-All Rights Reserved

The Wall Street Journal's Photo Journal is replete with gorgeous large format photographs, and are chosen to follow world events. I particularly liked the photograph of these men covering themselves in mud for the Ashura religious festival a few days ago in Khorramabad, Iran. I have no idea what that particular ritual signifies.

Ashura is commemorated by the Shi‘a branch of Islam as a day of mourning for the death of Hussein, the grandson of the prophet Muhammad at the Battle of Karbala. However, Sunni Muslims believe that Moses fasted on that day to express gratitude to God for liberation of Israelites from Egypt. According to Sunni Muslim tradition, Muhammad fasted on this day and asked other people to fast.

The caption under this photograph on the WSJ's Photo Journal that all Muslims mourn the slaying of Hussein is an exaggerated statement.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Lacie Hard Disk Max

In my brain, there's an IWO compartment. This acronym stands for "I Want One", and here is a product destined to get filed in the recesses of this ever-expanding IWO compartment, to be retrieved when budgetary constraints are lifted or eased.

LaCie announced its Hard Disk MAX high capacity storage system for users who want advanced RAID features and consumer-level ease of use and style. The Hard Disk MAX retails for $270 and delivers 2 TB of storage capacity. It includes two large-capacity disk drives that can be set in either a RAID 0 or RAID 1 configuration with the simple flick of a switch on the back panel.

The Hard Disk Max includes the LaCie Setup Assistant for formatting of the disk drives, and it ships with Intego Backup Assistant for Mac (and Genie Backup Assistant for PC).

Burn Magazine

burn was launched as an online magazine/journal on December 21, 2008 by the legendary David Alan Harvey and a team of emerging photographers. Its intent is to provide a platform for such photographers both online and in print.

In my view (and in the view of many), David Alan Harvey is a role model for all established photographers...he gives, he teaches and he mentors...he relates to younger photographers who benefit from his experience, from his expertise and his knowledge. If there's such a thing as a Nobel prize for photography, David Alan Harvey would be on my short list of candidates.

I encourage you to bookmark burn, to visit it often and see some remarkable talented work from emerging photographers, and to join its community and submit your work.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Great Photo Journalism

Photo © Nanna Kreutzmann/-All Rights Reserved

Great Photojournalism describes itself as an online free community of selected or invited members worldwide, where professional photojournalists from all over the world, display their work.

The concept is by Sofus Comer, a Danish photojournalist himself, who confirms that each member has full editorship of his or her work through via the site's content management system which he built.

Websites such as this one are always valuable to the photojournalism community, as they increase and enhance the visibility of photojournalists...and we all know the more exposure the better. I liked the work of Nanna Kreutzmann, especially her gallery on the Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe.

Flipbac Viewer

Here's an innovative product which piqued my interest when I stumbled across its website a few days ago. It's the Flipbac, an angle viewfinder and LCD screen protector for digital cameras. According to its website, the Flipbac accessory allows photographers to take photos "without kneeling, take candid portraits without hiding behind a camera, or capture a classic portrait."

It's essentially a stick-on flip-out mirror that can be affixed over most digital point-and-shoot and digital SLR cameras with a 3 inch live view LCD. The cost is US$19.99, plus shipping.

Naturally, the first thing I thought of is whether the adhesive would damage the camera it was affixed to. According the Flipbac's website, it uses a type of adhesive that is easily removable and "peelable". This assertion will eventually be put to test by consumers of the product.

Speaking for myself, I wouldn't use this product since it's not useful to my style of photography, but it may appeal to others....especially to those who use advanced point & shoots similar to the Canon G9 and the G10.

Canon 5D Mark II: Firmware Update

Canon has released updated firmware for the EOS 5D Mk II. Firmware v1.0.7 addresses the 'black dot' and vertical banding issues experienced by users of firmware 1.0.6. The latest version can be downloaded from Canon's website. The company also asks users to update their DPP and Picture Style Editor software.

Via Digital Photography Review

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

POV: A Tribute to Palestinian Photographers

Photo © Mahmud Hams/AFP-Getty-All Rights Reserved

We all see the wanton carnage and loss of innocent civilians in Gaza on our television screens, in newspapers and on the web. We also learn that the Israeli government has denied access to Gaza for the world’s media despite its country's Supreme Court ruling otherwise.

The Foreign Press Association said this denial amounts to a violation of press freedom and puts the state of Israel in the company of a handful of regimes around the world which regularly keep journalists from doing their jobs.” (Source: The New York Times).

Despite the clamp on the media, some courageous Palestinian photographers have worked in Gaza, putting their lives at risk, working under unimaginable difficulties, and facing incalculable psychological damage from documenting all they see. So I thought of naming them here...a small tribute to their courage:

Mohammed Abed
Suhaib Salem
Ismail Zaydah
Said Khatib
Khalil Hamra
Mohamed Salem
Mahmud Shams
Abid Katib
Eyad Baba

In the meantime we wait to hear from Elie Wiesel, the celebrated "humanitarian" voice who famously said:

" remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all..."

Will you at least whisper the same words Mr Wiesel, or are the Palestinian dead children in the above picture still not worth it?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cham! The Dancing Monks of Tamshing!

Image © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

Here's a recently produced audio slideshow titled Cham !! of the photographs I made during my October 2008 photo-expedition Land of the Druk Yul. The audio was recorded live while at the monastery of Tamshing in the religious heartland of Bhutan.

For uploading to my website, I prefer to use large format images as you see in this slideshow, however for publishing in a commercial website, I would use a much smaller size and reduce its footprint.

(Click on the image to see it in larger format).

Monday, January 5, 2009

PBS: The Story of India

Image © Callum Bulmer-All Rights Reserved

Yesterday's New York Times' reports that “The Story of India”, a six-hour, three-night mini-series will begin Monday on most PBS stations.

The series is from the British historian Michael Wood, whose projects have included “Art of the Western World” and “Conquistadors.” I met Michael Wood in 2001 while photographing the Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabd. I presume that some of the footage he produced there will make its way in the series.

The article promises a documentary with lush photography, fascinating facts, and sense of discovery. Just in time to whet my appetite for my forthcoming Theyyam of Malabar photo-expedition!

I'm surprised that there are no credits for the photographs which appear on the PBS website.

Correction: Ethan Goldstine (Producer at kapow, inc) emailed me pointing out that there is a photo credit on the film credits page, and the correction has now been made.

Bhutan Photo Expedition: Candid Shot

Photo © Alicia Conde-All Rights Reserved

I recently received an email from Alicia Conde, who's a photographer from Belgium I met on various occasions during our stops in Bhutan last October, and she kindly attached this photograph made in the Chorten Memorial in the capital city of Thimpu.

It shows (right to left) Ugyen, one of the photo-expeditions two fixer-guides wearing the traditional gho, Gavin Gough (with the hat and his back to us), Ralph Childs aiming his camera carefully at the spinning prayer wheel, and I at the left.

Unfortunately, Alicia's mail server keeps spitting my thank you email back at me. As she tells me that she reads The Travel Photographer blog (and let's be honest...who doesn't?), this post will let her know that I'm trying to thank her.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


On a very cold and frosty New Year's Eve, we went to a 'bit of a do' at a local 2 AA Rosette Award Hotel, where they were having a buffet and disco. I know we are all affected by the credit crunch, but the food wasn't great. I'm now thinking I should have stayed at home and cooked this meal on New Year's Eve instead of New Year's Day!!!

Pork fillet can be quite a dry meat because it is so lean but this was the perfect way to cook the fillets, swathed in a bandage of streaky bacon and filled with a mushroom and Parmesan cheese stuffing.

This made a perfect roast, the pork can be prepared the day before, sit happily in the fridge and cooked the next day. The roast cooks in just an hour, carves neatly (when my husband does the carving!) and any leftovers can be served with a salad the next day, which is exactly how we ate it. I know it's too late now to be thinking about buffets etc. but this is definitely a winner for the salad plate.

The stuffing could be made chunkier by not cutting the mushrooms as small as I did, but I had a new kitchen toy a few months ago and got a bit carried away!!

To make the roast you simply flatten two pork fillets, fill with the mushroom stuffing and wrap in streaky bacon.

I'm not sure whether the pork looks dry in the photograph, but it wasn't - promise.

Nearly forgot to say, I served the pork with potato dauphinoise, carrot batons and roasted cauliflower. I didn't make the cranberry and Madeira gravy because unfortunately I forgot to buy the cranberry juice. I made a brandy and mushroom sauce instead, which went surprising well with the meal.

I bought 450g of pork fillet and cut it into two pieces width ways. This was enough for two people with leftovers.

To make my potato dauphinoise, which is a lower in fat version of this classic, simply make in the usual way but to 900g of potatoes I use 300ml of half-fat creme fraiche mixed with 200ml of semi-skimmed milk, 50g Gruyere cheese or a reduced-fat Cheddar cheese coarsely grated and 15g unsalted butter.

Mary Berry is a prolific author of cookery books and you can visit her website here.


ISBN 0755315626 - Page 93

Serves: 6

You will need: 2 pork fillets of equal length, each about 450g in weight (trimmed of all fat), 10-12 long streaky bacon rashers, salt and ground black pepper.

For the stuffing: 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil, 1 finely chopped medium onion, 225g chopped chestnut mushrooms, 40g freshly grated Parmesan, 25g fresh white breadcrumbs, 3-4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, 1 egg yolk.

1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/Fan 200°C/Gas 7.
2. Make the stuffing. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the chopped onion and fry for a few minutes over a low heat until tender. Add the chopped mushrooms to the onion, and cook over a high heat to drive off any liquid from the mushrooms. When the pan is completely dry, take off the heat and add all the remaining stuffing ingredients and season. Set to one side to cool.
3. Split the pork fillets length ways halfway through (but not entirely in half), open out and cover with clingfilm. Beat out to flat. Stretch the bacon rashers with the back of a knife, and arrange overlapping on a chopping board.
4. Put one of the fillets on to the bacon, season with black pepper and spread with the stuffing. Cover with the other fillet, beaten side facing down. Roll up tightly, folding each piece of bacon over the roll. Lift onto a roasting tin with the bacon join underneath.
5. Bake in a preheated oven for about an hour until the bacon is crisp and the pork is cooked.
6. Let the pork rest for a minimum of 10 minutes before carving.

For the Cranberry and Madeira Gravy:

You will need: 25g butter, 100g sliced chestnut mushrooms, 300ml cranberry juice, 75ml Madeira, 1 rounded tablespoon plain flour, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the sliced mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. Gradually pour in the cranberry juice. In a small bowl blend the Madeira with the flour until smooth, then add to the sauce. Bring to the boil, stirring, then add the balsamic vinegar. Season.

This was a fabulous meal and I will be making it again. After eating this, we soon forgot about the previous evenings meal. After all, we had moved on to 2009. Happy New Year everyone!

Marcus Bleasdale: Banker-Photojournalist

I just read an article in the UK's Telegraph on the photojournalist Marcus Bleasdale, and his change of career from banker to photographer. The article highlights how someone who clearly didn't feel comfortable in the world of finance moved towards the uncertain and dangerous life of a photojournalist involved in conflict.

The article starts with this:

"As an investment banker, Marcus Bleasdale was paid £500,000 a year to sit in front of 10 computers and 25 phones. 'My job was to produce for the bank,’ he remembers, 'almost like being a battery chicken, sitting there laying eggs.’ There were perks, of course, and before the age of 30 Bleasdale was the owner of two houses and a 1968 Porsche 911, and he spent weekends skiing in the Alps.

And ends with this:

"Does he feel he has changed? 'I think I appreciate life a lot more. I think I’m more sensitive. I think,’ he concludes, 'I’m a nicer guy.’"

Marcus Bleasdale spent 8 years covering the brutal conflict within the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the work was published in his book “One Hundred Years of Darkness". He is widely published in the UK, Europe and the USA in publications such as The Sunday Times Magazine, The Telegraph Saturday Magazine, Geo Magazine, The New Yorker, TIME and Newsweek, LIFE and National Geographic Magazine. In 2004 he was awarded UNICEF Photographer of the Year Award, the 3p Grant and the Alexia Foundation Grant. Marcus was awarded a World Press Photo award in 2006 and the Olivier Rebbot Award by the Overseas Press Club 2006, and is represented by VII.

Lenovo ThinkPad W700: Mac Killer?

Photo courtesy Lenovo

Lenovo is expected to announce the first significant update of its ThinkPad W700 laptop since it was introduced in the fall of 2008. Included in the new specs is an optional (which usually means more $$$) slide-out second screen in a model called W700ds, a more affordable quad core processor option, the ability to order the machine with as much as 8GB of RAM (up from a maximum of 4GB previously) and the correcting of a problem that rendered the optional built-in CompactFlash slot unusably slow.

Yes, you read correctly. A second slide-out screen! This laptop is principally aimed at photographers and graphic artists. The W700ds incorporates a 10.6 inch, 768 x 1280 pixel LED-backlit display alongside the unit's 17 inch, 1920 x 1200 pixel CCFL-backlit primary display. The smaller screen slides in and out of a slot on the back of the main screen, and will add $400-500 to the already pricey laptop.

The Lenovo ThinkPad W700 via Rob Galbraith.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Dai Sugano: Left Behind

Image © Dai Sugano/Mercury News-All Rights Reserved

Native of Japan, Dai Sugano is an Emmy award winning photojournalist and senior multimedia editor at the San Jose Mercury News. He produced Left Behind, a powerful multimedia essay on the poverty-stricken of India, left behind in the wake of the country's economic growth.

Dai co-created whose interactive storytelling has been judged among the world's best two years in the Pictures of the Year International contest, and he covers a wide range of assignments such as Hmong refugees' immigration to the United States; the California Recall; former Japanese internment camp survivors, and a number of stories in politics.

In 2008, "Uprooted," which looks at displacement of a group of mobile home residents in Sunnyvale, won an Emmy Award in the category of New Approaches to News and Documentary Programming: Documentaries. His other works have been nominated for an Emmy Award and a Pulitzer Prize in photography; and have received international and national recognitions.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Canon 5D Mark II: Adding Copyright Data

I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon flipping the pages of my new 5D Mark II's manual, trying to figure out how to add a copyright notice and my name to its EXIF shooting data, with no success.

A friend with infinite patience (and truth be told, doubly so because he's not a 5D Mark II owner) took the time to really read the relevant part of the online manual, and suggested that I ought to install the EOS Utility software instead of using the CD as a coaster as I usually do.

To cut a short story even shorter, the copyright notice and my name are now embedded in each image's EXIF.

As a public service to those of you who are manual-phobic like me, there's also a link of the Canon Digital Learning Center (Gee, who would have thought to look there?) that explains all this in details much better than I can.

My thanks to Ralph Childs, who's a patient man.

PS. I've been testing the camera's video capabilities, and immediately concluded that its built-in microphone's quality is limited. So I've been using the external Sony ECM-DS30P stereo microphone. It juts out from the camera's side, but the audio quality is infinitely better.

NYT: Behind The Lens in Iraq #1

Photo © Max Becherer/Polaris-All Rights Reserved

The New York Times brings us an audio slideshow of a conversation with three veteran war photographers in Iraq: Joao Silva, Max Becherer and Franco Pagetti, three highly experienced photographers who have covered every phase of the Iraq conflict, and hosted by The New York Times’s Baghdad Correspondent Stephen Farrell.

Joao Silva is a Portuguese-born photographer who has worked for The New York Times as a contract photographer since 2000. The same year he was co-author of “The Bang-Bang Club,” a factual account of news photographers who covered the end of the apartheid era in South Africa. In 2005 he published “In The Company of God,” a photographic book on Iraqi Shiites during and after the 2003 invasion. He is based in Johannesburg.

Max Becherer is a Cairo-based photojournalist who has covered Iraq for The New York Times since 2004. He has also worked in Afghanistan and Pakistan for the Times. He has been represented by Polaris Images since 2004.

Franco Pagetti is an Italian photojournalist who has covered the Iraq war since January 2003, mainly on assignment for Time magazine. He has also worked in Afghanistan, the Middle East, the Balkans and Africa. He joined the VII Photo Agency in November 2007.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Eric Meola: India

The last few posts of 2008 on The Travel Photographer have been about misery...massacre in Gaza, circumcision of a sweet 7 year-old Kurdish girl, an orthopedic rehabilitation program in it's about time for a joyous post, and what better way to usher in 2009 than with the colorful (really colorful!) imagery of Eric Meola, and his new book, India: In Words & Images. My favorite photographic destination and blinding color...what a treat!

I haven't yet seen the book in its real format, but from the images on its website, it's immediately obvious that Eric Meola's book is suffused with light and color. The photographer's journeys took him from the Himalayas and monasteries in India's north to the temples of Tamil Nadu in the south, from the color and pageantry of Rajasthan in the west to the tea plantations of Darjeeling in the east.

Eric is a self-taught photographer, who opened his own studio in 1971. For over twenty years he has done editorial and corporate photography for major clients and agencies. His photographs are included in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., the International Center of Photography in New York, the George Eastman House and the Museum of Modern Art in Munich.

Give yourself a break from the drabness of current events, the venality of international and local politics, the horrors of religious racism and tribalism, etc and take a peek at India: In Words & Images...2009 may be sunnier!