Monday, August 31, 2009

Teru Kuwayama: How To Not Get Shot

Photo © Teru Kuwayama-All Rights Reserved

A veteran documentary photographer, Teru Kuwayama has made more than 15 trips to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kashmir, traveling both independently, and as an embedded reporter with US and NATO military forces, as well as Afghan, Pakistani, and Indian armed forces. In 2009 he received the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor award for his work in Pakistan, and a fellowship from the South Asian Journalists Association.

He is a 2009-2010 Knight Fellow at Stanford University, a contributor to Time, Newsweek and Outside magazines, and a contract photographer for Central Asia Institute, a non-profit organization that builds schools for children in remote areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

GIZMODO has featured Teru's Ask a Pro: How to Shoot (and Not Get Shot) In a War Zone, which is certainly a must-read for every inexperienced photographer with romantic notions on war photography.

Whilst all of his suggestions are extremely valid, I liked these:

Avoid the faux-commando stuff. Learn How To Say "Hello" and "Thank You" and To Count To Ten. Don't Follow the Pack.

Jean Claude Louis: Asia Polaroids

Jean Claude Louis was born in France, and moved to Southern California in 1990. He's a physician and scientist, and had a life-long career in biomedical research. He now is pursuing his passions: travel and photography.

I've featured Jean-Claude Louis' work through the many photographic contests he won in 2007 and 2008. He participated and won (in specific categories) awards in National Geographic International competition, the Travel Photographer of the Year competition (two categories), and the B&W Magazine Portfolio Competition.

He returns to TTP with his Polaroid images of Asia...countries such as Myanmar, India, Viet Nam and China.

In Jean Claude's own words:In the Shadow of Time "is homage to the natural environment of these places and the people who live in it. The physical beauty and harmony of the places is accentuated by my use of the unique texture and light rendition of Polaroid Time Zero film to create a timeless, painterly effect."

I think Jean Claude succeeded in his quest...the images are ethereal. I chose the above image of a fisherman at dawn on Li River, China, because of its beautiful colors.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Damon Winter: The Kamayurá

Photo © Damon Winter/NYTimes-All Rights Reserved

Damon Winter and The New York Times bring us An Ancient Society, a multimedia essay (narrated by Elisabeth Rosenthal) on the Kamayurá, an Amazonian tribe living in the middle of Xingu National Park in Brazil. This area was a huge swathe of land originally in the depths of the Amazon, but which is is now surrounded by farms and ranches.

The article reports that around 5,000 square miles of Amazon forest are being cut down annually in recent years, affecting the environment and depriving the Kamayurá of their way of life.

Nicely photographed by Damon, the audio slideshow's narration is somewhat stilted, and, for my taste, there isn't enough ambient sound to add what I call "aural texture" to the essay...but it's interesting nevertheless.

Moise Saman: Lost Boys of Afghanistan

Photo © Moise Saman/NYTimes-All Rights Reserved

“Afghanistan is hemorrhaging its youth into Europe” said Pierre Henry, director of France Terre d’Asile, an organization that works with the European Union, the United Nations refugee agency and the French government on asylum affairs.
As per The New York Times' The Lost Boys of Afghanistan, one of the consequences of the war in Afghanistan are the young (some as young as 12) refugees who seek an education and a safe future currently impossible in their own country. It appears that the European nations where these youngsters seek refuge are obliged under national and international law to provide for them; adding a few thousands to the many more of illegal migrants.

The photographs are by Moise Saman, and the accompanying article is by Caroline Brothers.

I'm mildly encouraged in reading that Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has recently written a critique "of government efforts at “strategic communication” with the Muslim world, saying that no amount of public relations will establish credibility if American behavior overseas is perceived as arrogant, uncaring or insulting."

Perhaps similar and concerted efforts by our current administration will slowly redress the blight caused by the previous administration's actions on the Muslim will take a lot of time and effort, but it's a step in the right direction.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Outside Magazine: Antonin Kratochvil

Photo © Clay Enos-All Rights Reserved

"Antonin detests the notion of self-aggrandizement that photographers make a living off of," says Gary Knight, a colleague of Kratochvil's and co-founder of VII.

That's a statement that made me pay close attention to the interview with Antonin Kratochvil published by Outside magazine. I've been gnashing my teeth and rolling my eyes at this very attitude which is exhibited by so many photographers these days; especially those who are deemed to be "conflict" or "war" photographers. And here's a interview which tells us that Antonin rejects the "war photographer" label outright and hates the self-promotional concept of bearing witness that's in vogue among some photojournalists....a feeling just up my alley.

A very unusual man, with an interesting history. I won't repeat the details here, but encourage you to set enough time to read and savor the interview. You'll enjoy it.

Antonin Kratochvil's website.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Google & Twitter Followers

I see that The Travel Photographer blog now has 200 Google Followers and 386 Twitter I thought I'd thank them all with this post. Thank you! It's quite a milestone on this blog's trajectory.

I'm always bemused that this blog attracts thousands of loyal readers on a daily basis, who arrived from disparate sources such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other search engines etc.

Variety is the Spice of Life - Part II

The photographs in the previous posting are:
Jamie's Italian in Brighton.
The Banksy Exhibition in Bristol.
Cabot Circus Shopping Centre, also in Bristol.
Monmouth Coffee situated opposite Borough Market in London.
Lastly, a snapshot of some of my garden!

The food at Jamie's Italian was generous and delicious. My choices were Prosciutto, Pear and Pecorina Salad followed by Italian Bakewell Tart.

A couple of negatives - sorry Jamie - the bottled water, on an extremely hot day, was served to us at room temperature! We asked for a glass of ice cubes which promptly appeared but then disappeared off the table just as quickly!! Also, if you decide to go to a Jamie's Italian make sure you eat downstairs because the Brighton restaurant is on two floors. Downstairs is a must for ambiance and where you will see the cutting of hams and bread etc. Wait for a downstairs table rather than go upstairs to eat.

Coffee in Brighton has to be at The Red Roaster Cafe. Freshly roasted beans and delicious coffee topped with latte art - it doesn't get much better than this. The second photograph shows a collection of coffee brewing machines the owner has obviously collected over time.

Brighton Pavilion - no trip to Brighton is complete without a visit here.

The Victoria, Richmond - a gastro pub where Paul Merrett is a chef and joint owner. We went on a Wednesday when they have an outdoor grill menu. The food, as was my latte art topped coffee fabulous, and I couldn't find one single negative. Perfect.

RHS Wisley, Surrey. Lots of beautiful, trees, plants, fruit trees bursting with apples, pears and damsons and wonderful walks. Didn't go here for food though.

Fish! Restaurant is situated in a huge glass building at Borough Market. Another sunny day where we sat outside and ate wonderful food. Forgot to take a photograph of this - sorry. Everything was perfect here too. Fish! also have a stall at Borough Market serving up fish and chips which was extremely popular with visitors.

The Total Organics Juice Bar situated inside Borough Market - no I didn't drink any of this, I just wasn't feeling brave enough! They serve shots of juiced wheat grass here.

Lots of wonderful tomatoes, again at Borough Market, a real feast for the eyes.

Whitstable, Kent. Yet another sunny day and lots of oyster and seafood stalls to whet the appetite.

We also ate at Ask and had a reasonably good meal, but the best place in Beckenham where we ate was Friends of Mine - the food was not only delicious but presented extremely well. The restaurant interior is definitely 'cool' and we enjoyed relaxing here after long hot days out!

My daughter lives in Kent and we stayed at her house for a week which was really useful and gave us the opportunity to explore the area and beyond. As you can see we had a wonderful time - just perfect.

I have been to some other great places this year and hope to post about these in the future.

Using a macro for holiday snaps

It's holiday time. This year we had the opportunity for a week by the sea, in Swanage.

This raised the question of whether to take my new Sigma macro lens. I naturually assumed that I would mainly use the kit lens that came with my Sony Alpha 350. It's a DT18-70mm F3.5-5.6, which means it's a basic zoom lens.

However, my Sigma macro was already on the camera and I decided to leave it there. I'm not certain how much dust enters a camera body whenever the lens is changed, but currently I'm being careful not to change too often.

On arrival in Swanage I decided to start taking pictures with the Sigma lens. It's supposed to
give good landscape results. After a little while I got used to the fact that it wasn't a zoom and if I wanted to get closer to a subject I had to physically move. It also did not give me the same wide-angle options as the zoom.

But you can learn to live with that. I downloaded the results, and I was impressed.

What clinched it was a comment by my thirteen year old daugther. She observed that the pictures looked more realistic because the buildings did not have curving walls. She was referring to
what's called barrel distortion, which results in straight lines becoming curves in photographs.

Barrel distortion tends to occur using wide angle lenses, or the wide end of a zoom lens. Apparently it's relatively easy to fix with software, but I prefer the pictures to come out of the camera without the need for post-processing.

I decided to stick with the Sigma macro lens for the rest of the week. I took some great portrait shots and landscapes, and it allowed me to get really close to subjects. It suited my style of photography.

There's a lot more that I want to write about. But the message of this post is simple - a macro lens works perfectly well as a general-purpose lens; it's not just for close-up work.

All the pictures in this post were taken with my Sigma 50mm macro.

Professional Photographer Contest

Professional Photographer magazine is one of the many excellent photography magazines in the United Kingdom. It now has launched a photography contest, and asks if its readers (and others) have what it takes to be the Professional Photographer of the Year 2009?

The Professional Photographer awards will be judged by a panel of judges along with the editor of Professional Photographer magazine, Grant Scott. Travel is one of the many categories that are available for interested photographers to compete in.

The closing date for 2009 submissions will be November 27, 2009.

As in all and every photography contests, I strongly encourage all interested photographers to make sure they carefully read the contests' terms and conditions, especially since misunderstandings between organizers and contestants over terms, prizes and other issues sometimes occur.

Dhiraj Singh: LENS

It is with considerable gratification that I learned this morning that Dhiraj Singh's work has appeared on The New York Times' LENS blog. A few of of us had known that this was in the works while we were at the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop, and it materialized as we hoped it would.

Yes, good things happen to good people.

Dhiraj, as readers of this blog now know, attended my class "Introduction To Multimedia Storytelling" at the workshop, and produced an absolutely stunning photo essay, for which he was deservedly honored for by winning the workshop’s top honors for student work.

His beautiful black & white work on Kashmir is now featured on the LENS blog, in which seeks to document a Kashmir that is defined by more than the decades-long dispute between India and Pakistan over the area. It's worth your time to read Dhiraj's interview as well, which tells us this, among other information:
Mr. Singh, 32, was born and raised in Mumbai. He was a storyboard artist for an ad agency until 2007, when he took a job shooting for Daily News & Analysis (DNA), a national daily. “I was always fascinated with photography,” he said, “and felt that if I did not take the risk and give myself a chance, I would’ve surely lived to regret it.” His work has since appeared in Newsweek, Vanity Fair and The Wall Street Journal.

May good things continue to happen to Dhiraj.

Dhiraj Singh's website is here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Palani Mohan: VIVID

Here's VIVID, a blast of colors that will surely jolt your senses into overdrive! It's a collection of "color-caffeinated" photographs by Palani Mohan of various (mostly of the Indian Holi festival) scenes of tremendous color.

Palani was born in Chennai, India, and moved to Australia as a child. His photographic career started at the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, and since then he has been based in London, Hong Kong, Bangkok, and now Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia.

His work has been published by many of the world's leading magazines and newspapers including National Geographic, Stern, Time, Newsweek, and The New York Times. He also published three photographic books. Palani's work has been recognized with awards from World Press Photo, Picture of the Year, National Press Photographers Association, American Photo and Communication Arts. He is represented by Getty Images' Reportage Group in New York.

The Travel Photographer blog previously featured Palani Mohan's work here.

Marc Silber Interviews Deanne Fitzmaurice

In this video interview, Marc Silber discusses photography techniques with Deanne Fitzmaurice, a Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist.

Deanne talks about how to approach your subject, and how to “layer” (a perceptive term) one's photographs and of multimedia, among other things. While not really new, there is sensible advice in this video, and it's given in an attractive low-key non patronizing conversational tone. Highly recommended interview for its content and for its style.

Via The Click

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Boston Globe's Ramadan

Photo © Fareed Khan/AP Photo-All Rights Reserved

The Boston Globe's Big Picture is featuring Ramadan 2009, a collection of 39 photos celebrating the advent of the month of Ramadan in the Muslim world.

"In Muslim nations and regions around the globe, this is the first week of the holy month of Ramadan, a time for followers to abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual activity during the day, breaking their fast each sunset, with traditional meals and sweets. During this time, Muslims are also encouraged to read the entire Quran, to give freely to those in need, and strengthen their ties to God through prayer. The goal of the fast is to teach humility, patience and sacrifice, and to ask forgiveness, practice self-restraint, and pray for guidance in the future.
While I have chosen the above photograph as the one that, to my mind, exemplifies the spirit of Ramadan the best amongst the collection, I was amused to see one (#27 by Ben Curtis) of Egyptian women walking past paper lanterns (presumably made in China since they have Chinese calligraphy on them) that are used as decorations during Ramadan. Globalization indeed!

RESOLVE blog Features FPW's Multimedia

My Name is Dechen - Foundry Workshop Multimedia By Dhiraj Singh from liveBooks on Vimeo.

Miki Johnson, Editor of the RESOLVE blog, interviewed two photographers who participated in this year's Foundry Photojournalism, and posted their multimedia projects as well.

One of the two participants, Dhiraj Singh, attended my class Introduction To Multimedia Storytelling, and produced an absolutely stunning tour de force photo essay, which can now be seen in the above embedded video. Dhiraj was deservedly honored for this work by winning the workshop’s top honors for student work.

The other participant was Tristan Wheelock, who attended the Intermediate Multimedia class by Henrik Kastenskov of Bombay Flying Club.

The interviews and multimedia work produced by Dhiraj and Tristan can be seen on RESOLVE.

Dhiraj Singh's work was featured on TTP, and his website is here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Landon Nordeman: The Sugar Train (Cuba)

The Atlantic magazine recently featured this slideshow (they call it video) of photographs by Landon Nordeman during a train journey in Cuba.

It's accompanied by an evocatively written article by Michael Scott Moore titled The 12:39 To Matanzas, which I enjoyed. However, I can't say the same of the slideshow. Clearly cobbled together by someone with an inordinate affection for panning and camera movements, I don't think I've seen a single frame in the slideshow (or video) that doesn't have the annoying pan from one side to the other, or going from one direction to the other, without a real reason for the movement.

I always start off my multimedia classes and workshops by telling participants to keep their projects simple, and to use effects sparingly, and only when it's absolutely required to underscore a visual point. In fact, I'll use this slideshow to demonstrate to my future classes what not to do. As to the use of a sound track from a Buena Vista Club album, ambient sound recorded in the train, peoples' voices, perhaps an impromptu song by a passenger...would have helped turn this feature around. Heck, what about the guy with the accordion in the train?

WSJ Photo Journal: Onam

Photo © Sivaram V./Reuters-All Rights Reserved

The Wall Street Journal's Photo Journal has this striking photograph of a dancer about to perform during festivities marking the start of the annual harvest festival of Onam in Kochi, India. The festival symbolizes the return of mythical King Mahabali to meet his beloved subjects.

Readers and followers of this blog and my work will immediately recognize that this is Theyyam performer who, as those I've photographed last January, and can be seen in my Theyyam gallery, is part of an indigenous religious tradition in the north of Kerala.

However, I wasn't aware that Theyyam rituals are performed during Onam, which is the state festival of Kerala. The festival includes snake boat races, Pulikali (tiger) dances and processions of caparisoned elephants. It is celebrated in honor of Mahabali, the mythical Asura king of ancient Kerala, and falls during August or September....but Theyyam rituals during Onam? Ah well, I learn something everyday.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Book: Dalrymple's Nine Lives

One of my favorite haunts when I'm in London is Stanfords, the travel bookstore close to Covent Gardens...and one of my favorite authors is William Dalrymple. So when both come together in an event to be held at the Royal Geographical Society, I am ready with my credit card to buy a ticket.

However, as I will still be in Bhutan on October 7, I will miss the event, but look forward to buying the book when I am in London.

I posted about Nine Lives earlier on TTP.

At War: Tyler Hicks

Photo © Tyler Hicks-All Rights Reserved

Well, the headlines this morning on Afghanistan are not encouraging, what with the rigged elections and with American military commanders in the country telling Richard Holbrooke (President Obama’s chief envoy to the region) that they did not have enough troops to do their job, pushed past their limit by "Taliban" rebels who operate across borders.

The usage of "Taliban" for every single insurgent (whatever his connection) in Afghanistan is really getting way past its expiration date...or the other one that is really getting so stale that one can almost smell it, is Al-Qaida...or even better, "Al-Qaida-affiliated" if the people living in the badlands and caves of Pakistan northern regions have an organization chart, showing affiliates or subsidiaries.

The New York Times (sensing that the war in Afghanistan will not be over in a while) is featuring a new blog called At War. The latest entry is by Tyler Hicks, the noted photojournalist and conflict photographer, who's reporting from the Korengal Valley using night vision photography and audio. I think it's quite clever of The New York Times to do this, as it adds a multi-dimensional aspect to Tyler's reporting.

And to end my tirade, here's this in Tyler Hicks' own words:
"The enemy fighters in this area are mostly local Korengalis. Accustomed to the mountains they can move stealthily in small groups, wearing running shoes or plastic sandals while carrying little more than Kaloshnikov (sic) rifles."
Three things jumped at me: the first is that the fighters have been identified as local Korengalis, not Taleban...and the second is that they're wearing plastic sandals. Those of us who remember the Viet Nam War, also remember what the Viet Cong wore on their feet...sandals. And the third is that the Koregalis, like the Viet Cong, also use Kalashnikovs.

Make of this what you will, but it doesn't augur well for us.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

POV: Reuters Blog: f8 & Be There

Photo © Zainal AbdHalim/Reuters-All Rights Reserved

Reuters Photographers Blog has a post on a Muslim woman who is scheduled to be caned next week in Malaysia for committing the offence of drinking beer in public. Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno will be the first Malaysian (other news outlets report that she's from Singapore) woman to be caned under Islamic laws (Sharia') applicable to Malaysia’s Muslims, who account for about 60% of its population, and is fueling a furious debate over tolerance in this multi-racial country.

Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno has asked that the punishment be carried out in public in an attempt to shame the Malaysian authorities, and Reuters is asking photographers to let them know how they would go about photographing this punishment. Reuters editors and photographers in Malaysia will have to make these decisions next week.

If I were to photograph this shameful event, I would focus my lenses on the faces of those who are carrying out the sentence. The policemen, the guards, those who represent the Sharia' authorities, every single person (presumably they'll all be men) in that room...and record their facial expressions and posture while Kartika is being submitted to this atrocity. Although I've read that the caning itself is expected to be "light" and just symbolic, it's also symbolic of a backward thought process that needs to be exposed and shamed. And let us be clear...this is not Malaysian secular law, but Sharia' law that decreed the punishment.

If God is "angry" at Kartika because she drank a couple of beers, let God "punish" her...not some hypocritical Malaysian imams who interpret Islam according to their whims. Justice and compassion are central pillars of Islam, and neither the Qur'an nor the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad prescribes any form of punishment for drinking alcohol.

Update (8.24): Malaysia abruptly granted a Ramadan reprieve to the first Muslim Malay woman to be sentenced to caning for drinking beer, but insisted the thrashing would still take place after the Islamic holy month of fasting.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Book: 100 New York Photographers

I am featured in Cynthia Dantzig's new book: 100 New York Photographers. I haven't seen the book yet, but I expect to have a double-spread page, and perhaps even two full double pages. A number of my photographs of Bali, Ethiopia, Bhutan, Burma and India were chosen, and I'm impatient to see which made it to the book's pages.

Cynthia, a professor at Long Island University, just published 100 New York Photographers, a 442-page review of the great range of contemporary New York photographers and their diverse, surprisingly divergent, images. It presents their subject matter and their very definitions of photography, darkroom and digital. Their photographs have been seen in publications, galleries, and museums.

Included are such iconic figures as Annie Liebovitz, Jay Maisel, Amy Arbus, Hugh Bell, Arnold Crane, Bruce Davidson, Carrie Mae Weems, Elliott Erwitt, Helen Levitt, David Gahr, Lee Friedlander, Arthur Leipzig, Builder Levy, Duane Michals, Joel Meyerowitz, Jamel Shabazz, John Loengard, Tony Vaccaro, Mary Ellen Mark, Pete Turner, Burke Uzzle, Deborah Willis, and others, as well as many less familiar but no less brilliant photographers. I expect I'm one of those!

The book will be available in September 2009, and will have price tag of $60.00

Live Hope Love

Here's a brilliantly done multimedia reporting project HOPE: Living & Loving With HIV in Jamaica, which was commissioned by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

It's an expansive project by poet and writer Kwame Dawes who travels to Jamaica and explores the experience of people living with HIV/AIDS, and examines how the disease has shaped their lives. In this feature, people tell their stories, share their lives and talk about resilience, hope and possibility in the face of despair. Some are living with the disease; others have committed their lives to HIV/AIDS care.

Photography is by Joshua Cogan.

The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting is an innovative non-profit leader in supporting the independent international journalism that U.S. media organizations are increasingly less willing to undertake. The Center focuses on under-reported topics, promoting high-quality international reporting and creating platforms that reach broad and diverse audiences.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Afghanistan: Choices

Photo © Raheb Homavandi/Reuters-Courtesy WSJ Photo Journal

Our media is publishing reams of articles on the elections in Afghanistan, so I thought I'd highlight excerpts of articles written by a US commentator and another from the UK.

In his In Afghanistan, the Choice Is Ours in The New York Times, Richard N. Haass writes this:
Making this assessment in Afghanistan is difficult. The Taliban are resourceful and patient and can use Pakistan as a sanctuary. It is not obvious that Afghans can overcome ethnic and tribal loyalties, corruption and personal rivalries. No matter who is declared the winner, yesterday’s election is almost certain to leave the country even more divided.

There needs to be a limit to what the United States does in Afghanistan and how long it is prepared to do it, lest we find ourselves unable to contend with other wars, of choice or of necessity, if and when they arise.

The incomparable Robert Fisk in his Democracy will not bring freedom in The Independent writes this:

We still think we can offer Afghans the fruits of our all-so-perfect Western society. We still believe in the Age of Enlightenment and that all we have to do is fiddle with Afghan laws and leave behind us a democratic, gender-equal, human rights-filled society. In the meantime, NATO soldiers go on dying for the pitiful illusion that we can clean the place up. We can't. We are not going to.

That's right. We can't and won't.

Rahman Roslan: Dark Secrets

Photo © Rahman Roslan-All Rights Reserved

Rahman Roslan is a freelance photojournalist and documentary photographer based in Kuala Lumpur, whose specialty is in news and documentary photography. A self-taught photographer, he started his craft a few years ago, and quickly gained recognition for his talents. His work was published in E9 magazine, The National UAE, Sutra Magazine, The New Internationalist, Berita Harian Singapore, Strait Times Singapore, and UNESCO Korea amongst others, as well as freelancing for wire agencies such as AFP and Reuters in Kuala Lumpur.

He is one of the alum of the Angkor Photography Festival, and won the emerging talent award at the 2009 Foundry Photojournalism Workshop which was held in Manali, for his work on the effects of marijuana trade on the local community.

His award-winning project is Dark Secrets, which documents the effects of marijuana trade on this idyllic area of Himachal Pradesh. Marijuana grows in the wild in Manali, and its exploitation is earning unscrupulous locals considerable return, but damages the fabric of Manali's traditional society.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Variety is the Spice of Life!

I have been eating too much yummy food here.

I have been shopping, perhaps too much, here.

I have been drinking lots of wonderful coffee, here.

I have now got to settle down and spend some time here!

The Black Snapper

As my readers know, one of The Travel Photographer blog's objectives is to assist emerging photographers in getting better known, and contribute in introducing their work to a wider audience.

Many other blogs and web magazines do this as well. Burn, 100Eyes, Verve Photo and others are showcasing the work of emerging and creative photographers extremely well, and have done much to introduce new talent into the limelight.

A newly formed web magazine The Black Snapper has joined in this commendable task on August 1st 2009. The Black Snapper daily presents a photographer selected by one of its guest curators, and the expectation is to present a new series of 8-20 photos each day.

According to its About blurb:
The Black Snapper aims to create an online community that will inspire professionals and photography lovers worldwide and expose new talent. In addition, the online magazine emphatically supports the emancipation and promotion of photographers from Asia, Africa and South America.

Coincidentally with the latest features on both 100Eyes and Verve, The Black Snapper has been showcasing the work of Bangladeshi photographers for 6 days already. Today's feature is called The Pavement Dwellers Amrao Manush; a Bangla phrase that means “We are humans too”. The featured photo essay is by Shehab Uddin.

I will add The Black Snapper to TTP's blogroll. I imagine you'll bookmark it as well.

Ralph Childs: Bhutan

Photo © Ralph N. Childs-All Rights Reserved

Photo © Ralph N. Childs-All Rights Reserved

I will be leading the Bhutan: Land Of Druk Yul photo expedition in the coming few weeks, and thought it would be appropriate to usher in its final preparation phase by featuring some of the work by the talented participants who joined the 2008 expedition.

Here are two photographs by Chicago-based Ralph Childs who maintains the blog RNC Photography. Both images are of performers at the famed festivals known as tsechus; which are annual religious Bhutanese festivals held in each district of Bhutan during specific days of the lunar Tibetan calendar. I chose these photographs because of their colors and motion.

Ralph works for one of the largest American aerospace and defense technology company, and also photographs local assignments during week-ends. His first photo-expedition with me was to Angkor Wat in early 2006, and he has been on quite a few since. He's constantly tempted to acquire new photographic gear, and bounces off some of his ideas off me. I try to temper his enthusiasm for new cameras and lenses, but fail miserably most of the time.

He thought of joining the forthcoming 2009 Bhutan photo-expedition, but work demands precluded him from visiting Bhutan three years in a row! There's always next year, Ralph!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New Canon G11 Announced

The photography enthusiasts and blogosphere are buzzing with the news that Canon has announced the flagship 10.0-megapixel PowerShot G11 with a retail price of $499.

Yes, the new model features a lower resolution in order to create larger individual pixels on the imaging chip that absorb more light. According to Canon, the system combines the new 10MP chip; optical image stabilization; and the camera's Digic IV image processor to produce better images in low light at high ISOs. Some professionals have asked for a halt to increasing cameras' resolution since it also increases noise when using small imaging sensors.

Notwithstanding Gary Knight's experience with the G10, it will take a miracle to convince me to part (again) with almost $500 to acquire a "street shooter" camera such as the G11. I've done it with the Canon G10, and was disappointed by its performance during my photo expedition in Morocco. You can read about this here.

Also, a sensible post by Matt Burns on CrunchGear about the G11.

And much more information on 1001 Noisy Cameras.

Note: Some commentators believe that the G11's image quality will be an improvement over its predecessor...but what is also crucial to my style of photography is shutter lag. The G10's shutter lag just didn't meet my expectations.

Bas Uterwijk: Kushti Wrestling

Photo © Bas Uterwijk-All Rights Reserved

Bas Uterwijk is a Dutch photojournalist, is an alum of the Foundry Photojournalism Workshops in Mexico City and Manali (India) and, while in Delhi, photographed Kushti wrestling. He is now a full time photojournalist, having been a computer graphics artist for a video game company.

Kushti is one of India's indigenous forms of wrestling, but from a royal spectacle has slowly turned into a dying form of sport, but recent efforts are being exerted to revive it. It's also practiced in Pakistan and Iran, and with some differences in Turkey.

Its practitioners have to adopt a rigorous daily regimen consisting of aerobic and weight exercises; nourishing the soil at the akhara where they wrestle, and eating a diet made of non-spicy, self-made food, and also adhering to a life of celibacy. The sand on which the Kushti wrestlers perform their sport is "fed" with ghee and mustard oil, and represents Mother India itself.

Bas has been featured a number of times on TTP.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wink Willett: Bhutan

Photo © Wink Willett-All Rights Reserved

Photo © Wink Willett-All Rights Reserved

I will be leading the Bhutan: Land Of Druk Yul photo expedition in the coming few weeks, and thought it would be appropriate to usher in its final preparation phase by featuring some of the work by the talented participants who joined the 2008 expedition.

To kick us off, here are two brilliant portraits by Wink Willett. One is a spontaneous portrait, while the second is more posed, although if I recall correctly the monk was already in this position when Wink arrived at the scene.

The top portrait is of a lay nun, spinning her prayer wheel and circumbulating around the Jakhar temple, while the second is of a Buddhist monk at a monastery, bathed in a wonderful light.

Wink Willett is an international banker, and brings to his photographic style the lessons he learned from his many overseas senior postings. His biography on his website sums his outlook very well:

"Photography gives me the opportunity to capture this interaction and a country's character; and it helps me archive what I've seen and learned. I gravitate to peoples' faces and their eyes as they tell so much about the life and soul of a person: hardship, determination, kindness."

Have a look at Wink's Bhutan Gallery, and explore his many others which include the Bahamas, Cambodia, India, Morocco and Viet Nam, to mention just a few.