Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Work: Baneshwar Pind Daan


One of the highlights during my Tribes of South Rajasthan & Kutch Photo~Expedition™ was a few days spent photographing in Baneshwar during its annual fair, or mela.

The Baneshwar mela is popular tribal gathering held in the Dungarpur district in south Rajasthan. The gathering is followed by a fair held at a small delta formed by the river Soma and Mahi. It's a relatively modest event, without the hype and the attendance of the Kumbh Melas, but it's nevertheless a deeply religious gathering with simple and traditional rituals. Bhil and Garasia tribals come from the neighboring states of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat to offer prayers to Lord Shiva, to perform pind daan, and to socialize.

Here's Baneshwar: Pind Daan, an audio-slideshow of photographs made and ambient sound gathered during the mela. Photographed in a documentary style, I chose to process the images in black & white despite their vivid colors.

The audio-slideshow was featured in my March email newsletter sent to my subscribers.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ryan Pyle: Chinese Turkestan



Here's a feature by photographer Ryan Pyle on Chinese Turkestan, which touches on the Uyghur people and their efforts to preserve their cultural and religious practices in China.

Chinese Turkestan is now known as Xinjiang, and is an autonomous region of mainland China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and borders Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, has abundant oil reserves and is China's largest natural gas-producing region.

Its major ethnic groups include Uyghur, Han, Kazakh, Hui, Kyrgyz and Mongol.It also has a documented history of at least 2,500 years, and a succession of different peoples and empires vying for control over the territory.

Ryan Pyle obtained a degree in International Politics from the University of Toronto, moved to China permanently in 2002 and began taking freelance assignments in 2003. He became a regular contributor to The New York Times covering China, where he documented issues such as rural health care, illegal land seizures, bird flu and environmental degradation. He also has published magazine work, such as the Sunday Times Magazine, Der Spiegel, Fortune, TIME, Outside, Forbes and Newsweek.

Normally, the Muslim call to prayer is melodious but the one chosen for this piece's soundtrack is not, so perhaps you may want to turn the audio off.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Travel Photographer's 2011 Photo~Expeditions™


I am planning my forthcoming Photo~Expeditions™ for 2011, and thought I'd write a heads-up concerning the direction these will take in the next year.

After some deliberation, I've decided to further accentuate the travel-documentary thrust of my photo~expeditions, and reduce the maximum number of participants to only 5 (excluding myself) on each trip. My recent expeditions have become so popular that they've swelled up to 9-10 participants, and generated long waiting lists. As of 2011, participation will no longer be based on "first registered first in", but will be based on a portfolio viewing and other criteria.

I intend to maximize the photo-journalism and travel-documentary components of my photo~expeditions even further, and largely focus on story-telling...and add a multi-media workshop element to them. This is the future of photography, and I fully intend to structure my photo~expeditions accordingly.

Here's an example of what I mean:

One of the photo~expeditions I intend to lead in summer 2011 is to Kashmir. I will announce its itinerary and the terms in due course, however it will be restricted to 5 photographers (excluding me).

The photographers will have visual and intellectual interest in Kashmir's Islamic culture, would have previously traveled to India, would be self-starters, have an affinity for photo-journalism & travel documentary photography, and want to work on individual projects and produce photo essays.

I chose Kashmir as an example because it's a destination that lends itself very well to both documentary photography (which is the objective of my photo~expeditions) and "pretty picturing" (which is not my aim). The overriding purpose in Kashmir will be to document its rich culture, its people and their faith. Will we photograph Dal Lake at dawn? Yes we will, but the major thrust will be on documenting the culture, and on projects of human interest.

Whether it's Kashmir, Kerala & Gujarat, Kathmandu, Havana, China, Siem Reap, Vietnam or any other of my possible 2011 destinations, carefully selecting participants and capping their number to 5, will accentuate the travel-documentary philosophy that I gained a reputation for, and will further enhance the quality of my photo~expeditions.

For further insight, here are a couple of my older posts (a) and (b) defining my philosophy behind my photo~expeditions. You'll find these quite interesting.

Here is an updated description of my photo~expeditions on my website.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

JAMIE OLIVER'S BUN AND BUTTER PUDDING


This is another of Jamie Oliver's Easter hot cross bun recipes and without any doubt his best to date.

I love Easter puddings where you make use of hot cross buns. This pudding is simply another variation of bread and butter pudding but with a Jamie twist. There are a couple of plus points about this recipe, both brandy and grated orange zest are added to the custard!

My ultimate bread and butter pudding is one with an eggy sauce layer in the bottom and so I removed the pudding from the oven after 30 minutes, checked that there wasn't too much sauce and then I put the pudding under a very hot grill to tinge the buns a slight golden brown. If you don't want the sauce layer then cook for about 45 minutes.

Slightly adapted recipe.

Serves: 6 people

600ml semi-skimmed milk, 600ml double cream, 1 vanilla pod, 4 medium eggs, 100g caster sugar, 6 hot cross buns, 3 tablespoons brandy, zest of 1 orange, icing sugar.

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas 3.
2. In a pan put the milk and cream and bring just to a boil.
3. Cut the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds, add to the saucepan.
4. Whisk the sugar and eggs together until light, now whisk in the milk and cream, remove the vanilla pod.
5. Halve the buns and spread with butter. Dip the buns in the mixture and place in an ovenproof dish. Pour over the cognac and the grated zest of the orange.
6. Pour the custard into a sieve held over the buns and now leave them to soak for approximately 15 minutes.
7. Put the dish into a roasting tin and half fill with hot water. Bake for approximately 40 - 45 minutes. When it is cooked the top will be slightly tinged and if you part some of the buns with a knife there should be a thick custard underneath. Check the pudding after 30 minutes cooking to ensure it doesn't overcook.
8. Dust with icing sugar.

Delicious!

Jan Sochor: Nukak-Maku

Photo © Jan Sochor-All Rights Reserved

Jan Sochor has documented the Nukak Maku people, a nomadic indian tribe from the Amazon, who were driven out of the jungle by the Colombian guerrilla and paramilitary squads. More than half of the Nukak population have died of western diseases like flu. In refugee camps, the Nukak are taught from (mainly Christian) aid workers concepts and habits that were never part of their tradition.

Jan is a freelance photographer, working between South America and Europe. He lived and worked in Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Spain and the Czech Republic during the past five years. His photographs and stories have appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers and websites, including Sunday Times, National Geographic, Reuters, Burn magazine, Foto8, 100Eyes, UNESCO, Boston Review, PDN online,and others.

I've always considered proselytizing by any religious group to be an abhorrent practice...hand in hand with racism and bigotry.

Found via The Click

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Gloria: Maestra de la Guelaguetza

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy -All Rights Reserved

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy -All Rights Reserved

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy -All Rights Reserved

During the Oaxaca Mini Photo~Expedition™ last week, we attended a Guelaguetza performance at one of the town's old hotels. I managed to get our group in the dancers' dressing room just before the performance, where we were introduced to Gloria, an experienced dancer who was dubbed "La Maestra" by the rest of the dancers.

Although heavy-set, Gloria had the flexibility, energy and liveliness of dancers half-her age, and she deafened us with her rhythmic whistling during the most frenetic parts of the dances. A real professional, with a wicked sense of humor.

La Guelaguetza is a perfomance of traditional dances from the seven regions of the state of Oaxaca. The performance is a re-creation of the original dance steps and music passed down through the generations. Dancers, and even musicians, wear costumes representative of their respective district, which are decorated with ribbons and sometimes bells.

The origin of the Guelaguetza dances dates fro pre-Columbian traditions, and the word "guelaguetza" is originally Zapotec Indian which means an offering or gift. In the true spirit of guelaguetza, the dancers at the end of their performance toss gifts, usually of fruits and vegetables, into the crowd. These offerings represent their region's specialty and include straw hats, flowers, mangoes and even pineapples.

This is what I described in my earlier POV post, and the fruits were eagerly awaited by some poor Zapotec children watching the children Guelaguetza.

Here's my gallery of La Guelaguetza photographs, made in 2007, which has additional details.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Canon 5D Mark II: ATR6250 Microphone


Further to my post on microphones for the Canon 5D Mark II, and having decided to add one to my audio equipment, I walked over to B&H (see note below) today and bought the Audio-Technica ATR6250 Stereo Condenser Video/Recording Microphone.

This is an extremely affordable stereo microphone, and I thought it would be ideal for use either on my Canon 5D Mark II or with my Marantz audio recorder. It has a bunch of accessories, most of which I don't think I'll use, except for the hot shoe adapter.

In my earlier post, B&H recommended a couple of microphones such as the Rode VideoMic, Stereo VideoMic, and the Sennheiser MKE 400. The latter in particular seems to be quite popular with photographers, however it costs $200 whereas my new ATR6250 is only $32. I compared the specifications, and what I made of the differences were not enough to warrant the increased cost as far as I am concerned...except for the coiled cord (which the ATR doesn't have).

Naturally, I will continue to record audio with my Marantz PMD620, but use the microphone when I need to shoot video since the Canon 5D Mark II built-in microphone just doesn't cut it. I will post my impressions as soon as I can.

* I'm not affiliated with B&H in any way. The Audio-Technica ATR6250 is also available at many other stores, on-line and otherwise. I only mentioned B&H because that's where I got it.

CNN: Haridwar Kumbh Mela



CNN brings us this short video, which was produced by Alex Zolbert, who traveled by train north of Delhi to witness and photograph the Dvitya Shahi Snan, or Second Royal Bath, on March 15, at the Ardh Kumbh Mela.

Photographs by Palani Mohan are included in the piece. Palani's 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.

As I wrote on my earlier posts about the Hardiwar Kumbh Mela, exuberant hyperbole (and imaginative press releases) describe it as the largest gathering of humanity. It is not. The distinction belongs to the Maha Kumbh Mela which occurs after 12 'Purna Kumbh Melas', or after every 144 years. It was held at Allahabad in early 2001, and was attended by over 60 million people, making it the largest gathering in the world. I would also say that, in my opinion and having been to both Allahabad and Hardiwar, that the latter is an unappealing city and its ghats are not photogenic.

Whether it's over-hyped or not, all of the photographers who attended it over the past few weeks had a wonderful time, and captured magnificent images.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

POV: Children Should Never Go Hungry

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy -All Rights Reserved

The Zocalo, with its cultural activities, is the very heart of Oaxaca, and is a daily magnet for locals and tourists alike. It also attracts vendors of various trinkets, as well as poor children (all of them indigenous...possibly Zapotecs) who attempt to make a few pesos by selling chewing gum. Approaching the restaurants' tables occupied by tourists, these children sometimes shyly ask for left-overs. In fact, that's what three little girls did one evening. We gladly gave them whatever was on our table, and one of us even asked our waiter for a bag to give them half her pizza.

During a festive Guelguetza dance festival of schoolchildren, I looked beyond the colors, music, laughter and frenetic motion, and at the periphery of the stage, saw a Zapotec boy with arms outstretched in askance for fruits from one of the young dancers.

You see, after each dance the young dancers would reach into baskets of fruits, flowers and vegetables, and toss them to an appreciative audience. The Zapotec boy was in that audience, and wanted fruit. Mind you, not for keepsake as perhaps the families wanted, but to eat. However, I also noticed he never reached into the basket full of apricots just inches from him...no, that would be stealing. He just wanted the young dancer to give him one...and he got a fruit.

Not only was I sobered at this sight, but I also read in these unfortunate children's eyes an uncomprehending acceptance that they would never take part in an organized Guelaguetza dance such as the one they were witnessing. I also sensed that they understood that it was so because they were poor and were racially different. They would never wear the colorful Guelaguetza costumes. All this boy could muster was an old over sized baseball cap, and a dirty shirt.

No child should go hungry and no child should beg for food. Ever.

The 500th Google Follower


I saw that my list of Google Followers have now grown to 500! This list is distinct from my Twitter and Facebook followers and friends, or from my subscribers to my newsletters.

To commemorate this milestone, here's an introduction to the work of Karina Joseph, who is my 500th Google Follower.

Karina Joseph is a freelance photographer working in Mumbai, and from what I've seen of her excellent photographs on Flickr, specializes in commercial photography. She also does street photography, as can be seen in this following photograph.

Photo © Karina Joseph-All Rights Reserved

I will keep an eye on my Google Followers, and whenever possible I will post the work of every 100th follower.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Best Of Photojournalism: Dhiraj Singh


It gives me singular pleasure to learn that Dhiraj Singh was awarded Honorable Mention (Feature Audio Slideshow) in the NPPA's Best of Photojournalism 2010 for his My Name Is Dechen.

Dhiraj attended my MultiMedia class at the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Manali last summer, and not only received a standing ovation on showing his audio slideshow (Soundslides), but was also awarded Top Award For Photography by the workshop's instructors.

A well-deserved honor to this immensely talented photographer and photojournalist...and he's a very nice guy as well.

I don't think Dhiraj will mind me plugging the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in this post...so if you are still on the fence about your participation in the Istanbul workshop, you may want to take into account that if you do attend it, you may produce a similarly powerful project or photo essay that could earn you prestigious awards!

The Foundry offers the best instructors there is...real working professionals who will show you the ropes, and either change or reinforce your mindset. All you have to do is to leave your ego at the door...that's all.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Afternoon Tea in Birmingham


Question - where can we go for a traditional afternoon tea in Birmingham?

Unfortunately there are only a few places to choose from and the best of the few options was the Hyatt Regency. We had a champagne afternoon tea in elegant surroundings and it was perfect. Champagne, finger sandwiches, cakes and pastries, all beautifully presented. The staff are very helpful, and they made it a wonderful afternoon for us.


I ordered a coffee latte and it came with lots of very fine layers - has anyone seen coffee with so many layers? My coffee looked fabulous and didn't disappoint on taste either.

NOTE:  Since writing this post in 2010 afternoon tea at the Hyatt has been brought up to date and looks fabulous.  Whilst at the Hyatt for a meal, the next table were enjoying afternoon tea and it looked amazing - February 2013.

FOODIE GIFTS


My son spoilt me with some foodie gifts he bought from the Algerian Coffee Stores in London.

Sfizio Bronte Pistachio Cantucci, Formula Rossa Coffee, Zotter Pistachios Chocolate Bar, Chocolate Nougat, an artistic tea ball (this is tightly rolled tea which opens when infused to unveil flowers inside) and Xocolata Pedra (you break a piece of chocolate off the block and melt it with your milk to make a rich hot chocolate).

So far I've eaten the pistachio chocolate bar and also the chocolate nougat, it's not a difficult task working my through all of this - of course I've shared this with my husband, you don't think I would eat all of this by myself - do you?

The Travel Photographer's Pouches

Photo © Some Hot-Shot Photog I Forgot The Name Of

Here's the exclusive opportunity that you've all been waiting for! I announce the "availability" of The Travel Photographer's Pouches which are for sale at the incredible price of only $89.99 a piece...or, if you're inclined to save, only $181.00 for two pouches. Yes, please do the math.

The pouches are (probably) made in China of rugged black canvas, and have two pockets. The Travel Photographer logo is embroidered in the trademark bright teal color, using the Arial font, and with a thread exclusive (possibly) to me. The logo was embroidered using the latest techniques in the lovely town of Oaxaca, using a cranky Japanese machine.

The cost? Well, I bought the pouch for about $5 at a nearby US Army Surplus store, and the embroidery cost under $2...so I figured that a profit of $83.00 a piece seems reasonable. Oh, and shipping is not included in the price.

As to availability; well...here's the thing. I would need to return to Oaxaca to have them embroidered. This may take a year or so.

As I said, these are exclusive and are really really worth waiting for.

Seriously speaking, I found these pouches to be ideal for extra lenses, small notebooks, an audio recorder and other paraphernalia I carry while shooting. And I prefer to use items that carry my brand name instead of products such as ThinkTank, LowePro, etc. If these companies paid me to carry (and advertise) their wares, it'd be different...but they don't.

Asim Rafiqui: The Kerala Journeys

Photo © Asim Rafiqui -All Rights Reserved

A few weeks ago, I had just returned from my Tribes of South Rajasthan & Kutch Photo~Expedition™, and felt that I hadn't done enough in terms of street photography in the Kutch area of Gujarat.

I, rather ludicrously, expected to photograph non-stop in its small villages that had seen few (if any) foreign tourists and when that didn't happen, I had to content myself with a some frames here and there. Back in New York City, and still cursing my bad luck, I chanced on a post by Asim Rafiqui, in which he describes his street photography in Lucknow as follows:
"And in the rare moments when something close to a photograph does appear I keep ruining it with poor timing, inappropriate angles or by being club footed and lumbering towards it so slowly that the moment is gone. Yesterday I had waited nearly 3 hours for a frame, arousing suspicions among the many shopkeepers who had patiently tolerated me and my cameras on the corner of their street, and then missed it when it seemed to come together!"
Three hours for a frame! And Asim is one of the better photographers I have come across. So I swallowed my curses, and realized that this is what it takes...this is reality...and street photography and paparazzi-style travel photography are miles apart.

Because of such gems, I am a frequent follower of Asim Rafiqui's The Idea of India project. An extraordinarily erudite, both intellectually and visually, blog in which he examines traditions of social and religious sharing which still exist in India, reports on shared sacred sites like major Sufi dargahs where Hindus and Muslims co-pray and on religious festivals which evolved past their sectarian sources and welcome participants of all beliefs and faiths. A veritable cornucopia for those of us who are eager for deeper understanding of the roots of current events.

The latest blog entry is titled The Kerala Journeys. This is what street photography is all about.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Oaxaca: La Guelaguetza

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy -All Rights Reserved

Our "almost-a-week-long" Oaxaca Mini Photo-Expedition™ was replete with daily serendipitous photo opportunities. Lynn Padwe, Carl Meisel, Li Lu-Porter, Maria Dikeos and I roamed the streets of this wonderful town in search of photographic scenes, and we weren't disappointed.

Naturally, it was the Zocalo...the throbbing heart of Oaxaca, that offered the most in terms of photo ops, and we made the most of it. It's always a wonderment that Oaxaca (and certainly other similar towns in Mexico) always has something going on in its main square. During our 5 days there, every evening saw some sort of cultural event; a classical performance by the Oaxaca orchestra, a performance by a wide-throated Mariachi singer, a Guelaguetza festival for young children (above) and the weekly dance event.

After photographing the events, we would invariably make a beeline towards the various cafes and restaurants that line the square for drinks and/or dinner.

Note: I've recently noticed that a number of travel photographers have now started to appropriate the Photo-Expedition moniker that I've used for years. I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Ashley Gilbertson: Bedrooms of the Fallen


The New York Times Sunday Magazine has featured The Shrine Down The Hall: Bedrooms of America's Young War Dead, a powerful photo essay in slideshow format by photographer Ashey Gilbertson (VII Network), which looks at some of the empty bedrooms of the over 5000 U.S. military personnel killed in the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dexter Filkins starts his accompanying article with the words "Just kids". The ages of these military fallen range from 19 to 25...indeed, just kids.

George McGovern in 1969 speaking about Vietnam said:

"I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in".

Now of course, it's also women who die in combat, as indeed Karina Lau did. Her bedroom still has a stuffed teddy bear and floppy-eared rabbit on top of her floral bedspread. She was killed seven years ago when insurgents shot down her helicopter in Falluja, Iraq. She was 20 years old.

In my view, this slideshow should be mandatory viewing by every politician who supported our senseless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I just read that George W. Bush is visiting Haiti. How about visiting these bedrooms first?

Foundry Photo Workshop: Scholarships


Eric Beecroft of the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop issued a press release announcing the winners of the Workshop 2010 Scholarships.

It was difficult to choose amongst the plethora of so many superb and powerful entries from extremely talented photographers, especially from those whose work was somewhat outside the "traditional" photojournalism concept.

The Foundry Photojournalism Workshop is amazed at the level of unexposed talent it has seen so far, and it is the hope that all who applied continue to pursue their passion for visual storytelling. There will be more scholarships for Foundry, from sponsors - some general and some regional specific- so keep watching.

The FPW Scholarship of the Year 2010 is awarded to:

Doni Maulistya


Three full scholarships have been awarded to (in no particular order):

Tom Jamieson
Yulia Vishnevets
Roubina Margossian


Two half scholarships are awarded to:

Johannes P. Christo
Agata Pietron

The judges included Stephanie Sinclair and Guy Calaf.

There a few spaces left, so don't hesitate to apply!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

EASY CHICKEN CURRY


In the mood for curry but short of time - then maybe this curry is for you. The curry isn't too hot but you can easily adjust the amount of chilli and ginger.

The Very Lazy Ginger used in the recipe was comparable to fresh and is a great store cupboard standby. Once opened it can then be stored in the fridge for future use.

Whilst in the photograph I didn't show all of the creamy sauce, there is more than enough for two people. I served my curry with plain boiled rice and naans.

Serves: 2 people

2 chicken breasts (bone in), 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 chopped onion, 1 crushed clove of garlic, a few julienned strips of Very Lazy Ginger, 1 medium sized red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped), 8 green cardamom pods, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 tablespoon ground turmeric, 200ml chicken stock, 100ml natural yogurt, 75ml double cream, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, chopped coriander leaves.


1. Lightly brown the chicken in 1 tablespoon of oil. Remove the chicken from the pan.
2. Cook the onion, garlic, The English Provender Co. Very Lazy Ginger and chilli in the rest of the oil.
3. Take the black seeds from the cardamon pods and crush them with a pestle and mortar. Add the cardamom to the cooked onion, add the cumin and turmeric then fry over a medium heat.
4. Return the chicken to the pan and pour in the stock, bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and simmer gently until the chicken is cooked, which is about 30 minutes or so.
5. When the chicken is cooked through, turn the heat down, stir in the yogurt and cream. Gently warm through over a gentle heat, stir in the lemon juice and coriander.
6. Serve with boiled rice and naan bread.

Thank you Alex.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Live From Oaxaca


Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy -All Rights Reserved

After suffering the trauma of temporarily losing my checked-in luggage between Newark, Mexico City and Oaxaca, I was delighted to be reunited with my belongings a mere 4 hours later. Not too bad Mexicana Click!! Of course, I jumped the gun and bought toothpaste/toothbrush and some other essentials (even a t-shirt) just in case, but that story ended well.

So here I am typing/blogging away in the patio of the delightful Hotel Aitana in the Centro Historico de Oaxaca, after a morning replete with photo ops in the two main markets of the town. We were glad to photograph a Guelaguetza rehearsal of young boys and girls at the Zocalo, who were prepping for a main event next Saturday.

We are waiting for one more member to join our group this afternoon, and we will then start the afternoon session. In the meantime, here's an image of a Oaxacan laborer. I can't tell if it sharp, or well processed as I'm using my Acer netbook...but it'll do for now.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

On The Road: Oaxaca

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy -All Rights Reserved

As you read this, I should be on my way to Newark to catch my flight to Mexico, where I'll be conducting a short photo-expedition/workshop on street photography in the always delightful Oaxaca. Our small group will be staying at the Hotel Aitana, which will be our base for these 5 days.

Although the hotel has internet facilities, I'll be posting somewhat sporadically during that time, giving myself a break as far as daily blogging is concerned. Perhaps I'll be updating my Twitter page instead...we'll see.

A Journey Through Asia: Canon 5D II

a journey through asia from ivan vania on Vimeo.


Here's a short movie shot with a Canon 5D Mark II titled "A journey through Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The photography/videography (and editing) is by Ivan Vania, a filmmaker from Italy. The lens was a 24 mm-70mm 2.8, while the software was Final Cut Pro.

Simple and effective...and an increasingly important component of travel photography. I think that ambient audio (instead of the current soundtrack) would have strengthened it considerably. And better titling would have been nice too.

My thanks to Ralph Childs for sending me this.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Peter Turnley Does Rio's Carnaval

Photo © Peter Turnley -All Rights Reserved
..."I became aware of the value of turning my attention away from the main event. So often, the temptation is to look where everyone else is looking. But, time after time, I have chosen to observe what’s going on by looking in the other direction—before, or after, or at the edges of the main attraction." - Peter Turnley

And that he did. Turnley's just featured On the Fringe of the Rio Carnaval photo essay on The Online Photographer is unusual because it doesn't concentrate on the scantily-clad gorgeous women of the Rio's Carnaval as many other photojournalists do, but it rather takes us away from the glitz of the main event to the less glamorous side show...to the fringe as he calls it.

The photographs represent moments that occurred away from the main event. It is this amazing spirit which, in Turnley's mind, exemplifies the Carnaval, and inspires him to return to Brazil year after year.

The complete photo essay is on The Online Photographer.

Dog Meets World: A Worthwhile Project


Giving a personal photograph to a stranger is one of the best, easiest and kindest things people can do for one another. It is an incredible vehicle for person-to-person diplomacy.

Dog Meets World Founder, Carolyn Lane

In late 2008, Dog Meets World was founded to fulfill a dream to photograph the children of the world. To seek children in their own settings, print their image to keep for a lifetime. The dream of Dog Meets World is to empower travelers to make real connections to people in other cultures, in essence to become photo-diplomats. A picture makes anybody a "somebody".

DMW is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. So get involved and join the movement!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

PURPLE SPROUTING BROCCOLI, LEEK & ALMOND TART


This recipe comes from the BBC Good Food Magazine March 2010 and is by the talented food writer Celia Brooks Brown.

Purple sprouting broccoli has a very short season and so we need to make the most of it whilst it is around. I bought mine from an independent greengrocer, but if you are lucky enough to live in a market town, it should be more plentiful on the market stalls and not so costly. For this recipe you will only need a few spears of purple sprouting broccoli.

The tart was delicious and is on my 'make again' list for next year.

Serves: 6

You will need: 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 2 finely sliced leeks, 500g pack puff pastry, 1 tbs polenta or semolina, 6 trimmed spears purple sprouting broccoli, 150ml creme fraiche, 50g finely grated Parmesan, 2 egg yolks, 25g flaked almonds.

1. First heat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/Gas 7.
2. Heat up a frying pan over a medium heat and then add the oil. Now cook the leeks, with a lid on, stir occasionally until just tender which should take about 5 minutes. Put on one side.
3. Lightly flour a surface and roll out the pastry to a 26cm circle, drawing round a dinner plate or similar as a template.
4. Cover a baking tray with parchment paper and sprinkle with either the semolina or polenta, place the pastry circle on top. Score a circle about 2cm from the outside edge.
5. Now spread the leeks evenly inside the scored circle, bake for 10 minutes until the edges have puffed up. Remove from the oven and turn the heat down to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas 6.
6. Bring a pan of water to the boil. Blanch the broccoli in the boiling water for 1 minute, drain and cool under running water. Drain thoroughly and arrange on top of the leeks.
7. Mix together the creme fraiche, Parmesan, egg yolks, salt and pepper, now pour over the veg.
8. Bake the tart for 15 minutes and then sprinkle over the flaked almonds, return the tart to the oven for a further 5-10 minutes, until golden.
9. Can be served either warm or cold.

Chico Sanchez: The Way North

Photo © Chico Sanchez -All Rights Reserved

One of the most recent slideshows by Chico Sanchez is The Way North, which documents the plight of the hundreds of people from South and Central America as well as Mexico's poorest regions who pass through La Lecheria, a small factory town just outside Mexico City, on their way to the borders of the United States.

Chico Sanchez is 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.

Many of Chico Sanchez's documentary/travel photography slideshows have been featured on The Travel Photographer blog and can be found here.

A number of photographers, some of whom attended the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Mexico City in 2008, have documented La Lecheria. In fact, a project produced by one of the participants in my Multimedia class was on the same subject.

You can see my own slideshow Los Migrantes about the migrants who pass through La Lecheria.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Oaxaca Mini-Photo~Expedition

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy -All Rights Reserved

I'm getting my gear ready for my Oaxaca Photo~Expedition, scheduled for March 17-March 21.

It's a short trip, a sort of mini photo~expedition...and will concentrate almost exclusively on street photography in this lovely small city in south Mexico. Walking the streets of the old historic center of Oaxaca is always a wonderful experience, and it cannot get better than waiting for decisive moments in the Zocalo.

We'll also do the Zapotec weavers of Teotitlan, and the weekly market in Ocatlan.

I plan to resort to my Minimalist set up, but also schlep my Canon Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS which hasn't seen much action in India a few weeks ago. Hopefully it'll come in useful should we decide to attend Guelaguetza dancing performances.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Karim Sahai: India


Karim Sahai is a photographer and feature films digital visual effects based in Wellington, New Zealand. Born in Guadeloupe, he worked on blockbusters such as Avatar, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings, among others.

I was hoping that his portfolio would include a wide variety of photographs from his birth country, but unfortunately he has only posted 5 images of Guadeloupe, a magnificent archipelago located in the eastern Caribbean Sea. Hopefully, more will be shown.

Frommer's Rights Grab


Bob Krist is mad...fighting mad.

It sems that Frommer's have launched a photography contest calling for photographers to submit images to win the chance of seeing their work gracing the cover of a Frommer's future guide book. The winner will receive $5,000 while 4 runners up will receive Frommer's Prize pack containing three Frommer's Day by Day travel guides and a selection of Frommer's Lug travel accessories.

I've always advocated potential contestants or individuals considering such contests to really read the fine print with care, whether the organizers are well-known in the world of photography or travel or not, in an effort to highlight that most (if not all) of photography contests are rights grabs.

The Frommer's contest rules contain this:
License: Participant retains ownership of the copyright in any submitted photographs. However, by entering photograph(s) in this Contest, participant grants Sponsor the irrevocable, perpetual right to edit, adapt, use and publish in any media now known or hereafter discovered any or all of the photographs without compensation to the participant, his or her successors or assigns, or any other entity. ENTERING A SUBMISSION IN THIS CONTEST CONSTITUTES PARTICIPANT'S IRREVOCABLE ASSIGNMENT, CONVEYANCE, AND TRANSFERENCE TO SPONSOR OF THE FOREGOING RIGHTS. Photograph(s) shall be given attribution credit based on the name supplied with submission. The winner shall work with Sponsor to change the file in any way deemed necessary for publication of the photograph(s). The participants shall supply, upon request, original, unmodified digital files.

As a photographer, I would never ever grant anyone an "irrevocable, perpetual right..." to any of my work, no matter what. Not even a "throw-away" frame.

Bob Krist calls this another rights grab in sheep’s clothing. I don't know about the sheep's clothing, but I can clearly see the wolf's fangs. I also realize that a number of non-professional photographers will be tempted by the prospect of seeing one of their images in print, and perhaps that's what Frommer's target market is. However, I urge working photographers to boycott this contest and to spread the word.

I'm also shocked to see Rick Sammon, a preeminent travel photographer and educator, listed as a judge in this contest.

Update: I learned from Bob Krist's blog that Rick Sammon has now withdrawn from the panel of judges. It was the right and appropriate action to take.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Maynard Switzer: Dogon Mask Dances

Photo © Maynard Switzer -All Rights Reserved

Maynard Switzer has recently returned from Mali, where he attended and photographed a Dogon mask dance. These dances are performed at several times during the year, and serve to celebrate the start of the rainy seasons to bring about abundant rainfall, at the end of the harvest seasons to ensure plentiful crops, and also as funerary rituals to commemorate the dead.

Photo © Maynard Switzer -All Rights Reserved

The dances involve dozens of dancers representing figures from the animal world, male and female powers, and the after-world, while the masks represent spirits, women, midwives, witchdoctors, snakes, antelopes and other various representations.

Maynard tells me that the masks are made by boys as part of their coming of age. No outsider is allowed to see the dancers get dressed & put on their masks. The older men are dressed in dark blue, and are retired former dancers who train the new dancers.

Photo © Maynard Switzer -All Rights Reserved

The Dogon are an ethnic group living in the central plateau region of Mali, south of the Niger bend near the city of Bandiagara in the Mopti region. They are best known for their mythology, their mask dances, wooden sculpture and their architecture.

Maynard Switzer was previously featured here on this blog.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Work: Wadha Girl

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy -All Rights Reserved

I'm almost done with editing my images made during my Tribes of South Rajasthan & Kutch Photo~Expedition™, and have added some images (including the one above) to the gallery Traversing The Kachchh. So drop by the gallery to see these new additions.

This young Wadha girl was determined to be photographed with her pet goat. The Wadha are largely pastorals, and the particular tribe we visited are also involved in making and selling wood charcoal.

I've been asked about my editing workflow, and it's a rather simple one. I initially get a quick bird's view of my RAW images via Canon's DPP, which is somewhat clunky, but it's uncomplicated and I got used to it. I do have a copy of Photo Mechanic somewhere, but until I find it, DPP is it. I make my edits, choose the images I like...and convert these to TIFFs with no color correction etc. Just a simple conversion from RAW to TIFF.

I perform three edits; the first two are for horizontals only (which is what I mostly shoot), and the third is for verticals.

The processing of my TIFFs is mostly done using Lightroom 2.0, and on occasion with Photoshop.

Simple and headache-free (for me).

Tiana Markova-Gold: Haiti

Photo © Tiana Markova-Gold -All Rights Reserved

Here's another post on Haiti.

Tiana Markova-Gold is a documentary photographer based in Brooklyn, and graduated from the full-time Photojournalism Program at the ICP, where she was the recipient of a New York Times Scholarship. She traveled extensively in Latin America, Asia and Africa working on social documentary projects.

Her work was recognized by New York Photo Awards, PDN Photo Annual, American Photography and International Photography Awards. She also traveled throughout nine Asian countries on a photography fellowship from Johnson & Johnson, documenting various social issues.

Here, I feature Tiana's work on Haiti which depicts scenes from Souvenance and Saut d'Eau. In Souvenance, Holy Week is marked by colorful parades and traditional music played on bamboo trumpets, maracas, drums, and even coffee cans. Voodoo believers make this annual pilgrimage to Souvenance, carrying offerings to the spirits.

Saut-d'Eau is the home of Haiti's most celebrated patron saint, Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Vierge Miracle) whose anniversary is celebrated on July 16th. Saut-d'Eau is said to be the most important pilgrimage site in Haiti, with thousands of pilgrims participating in the festivities. Its waterfall is said to have healing powers, and song and music are part of the bathing ritual where pilgrims wash themselves covering their bodies with aromatic basil, dandelions, and perfumed soaps.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

BANOFFEE PIE


I love desserts, and Banoffee Pie has to be one of my favourites. It isn't a dessert I make very often, but when I do, it's heaven.

Mine are individual pies purely because I like to give my cooking rings some work to do every now and again.

The only twist to this classic recipe is to put some ground ginger into the crumb base, not too much, otherwise it will overpower the pies.


Merchant Gourmet have sent me a jar of their very popular Dulce de Leche Caramel Toffee to use in a recipe and I couldn't think of anything better than this classic pie, also it's wonderful to eat straight from the jar.


To serve: 6 people

You will need: six buttered 9cm or 10cm metal rings.

4 bananas, sliced
1 lemon, juice only
150g digestive biscuits
75g unsalted butter, melted
½ teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
450g jar Merchant Gourmet Banoffee Toffee Dulce de Leche
284ml carton of whipping cream, lightly whipped
plain chocolate shavings, for decoration

1. Toss the sliced bananas in the lemon juice and put to one side.
2. Put the biscuits in a food processor and whiz to crumbs. Add the melted butter and ginger, if using, and process for a minute or so to combine.
3. Put the metal rings on to a sheet of baking parchment on a tray. Press the biscuit crumbs into each ring. You can now put the tray into the fridge for the crumbs to firm up.
4. Remove the tray from the fridge and put a layer of toffee sauce (how much or how little is up to you) onto the crumb mixture.
5. Top the toffee sauce with the banana slices.
6. Carefully remove the rings.
7. Pipe or spoon on the cream, sprinkle with chocolate shavings and chill.

Thank you to Merchant Gourmet and Rebecca.

Beken: Haiti's Troubadour

Photo © Todd Heisler/The New York Times -All Rights Reserved

Here's a touching piece of multimedia that has Todd Heisler's fingerprints all over it. Heisler is the photographer of the "One in 8 Million" New York Times series that profiled 54 New Yorkers in weekly episodes from January 2009-January 2010.

Profiled in the same fashion is Beken, born Jean-Prosper Deauphin, who sings songs about despair and redemption that resonate deeply with Haitians, especially in its recent times of tragedy. Beken, who lost his right leg at a young age in a car accident, sings in Haiti’s troubadour tradition, and plays a guitar, connecting with his audience in songs of lament, humor and sometimes politics.

Singing The Suffering of Haiti is the title of the multimedia piece, and is narrated quite well by the author of the newspaper article, Simon Romero. Since I would have preferred a little less narration and more song, I would have used Beken's voice-over in Haitian, with the voice of a translator here and there. Notwithstanding, a well paced multimedia piece.

Haitian Singer and His Guitar Fight Urge to Weep is the article by Romero.

Peter Turnley: The Williams Club (NYC)


On March 11th at The Williams Club in New York City, Peter Turnley will step out from behind the camera for a "show and tell" on the images that have made him one of the preeminent photojournalists of our times.

The event titled Man With A Camera: An Illustrated Conversation With Peter Turnley is sponsored by the Williams Club and the Jeffrey O. Jones '66 Journalism Fellowship, which was established last year by a group of friends, classmates, and family of Jeff Jones, to honor his memory and celebrate the profession he practiced with distinction over the course of his lifetime.

Peter Turnley has photographed world conflicts in the Balkans (Bosnia), Somalia, Rwanda, South Africa, Chechnya, Haiti, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Iraq (2003), the Gulf War (1991), and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sharon Johnson-Tennant: Tribes of Rajasthan & Gujarat

Photo © Sharon Johnson-Tennant -All Rights Reserved

Here are three photographs by Sharon Johnson-Tennant, one of the participants in my Tribes of Rajasthan & Gujarat Photo~Expedition, which I think exemplify her distinctive multi-faceted photographic style.

Photo © Sharon Johnson-Tennant -All Rights Reserved

Sharon is a published photographer, who has traveled and trekked to various corners of the world, on remote expeditions and private explorations in the pursuit of uncommon cultures, unusual places and off the beaten path experiences. Her travels have taken her to Malaysia, Burma, Borneo, Papua New Guinea, Thailand and the Philippines. Her work has been published in various Los Angeles galleries, by Sony Pictures and featured in the movie "Hitch".

Photo © Sharon Johnson-Tennant -All Rights Reserved

According to her artist's statement, she's an absolute purist in her photography...she does not crop nor does she alter her images. Sharon finds that the simplest of visions often convey the true beauty and spirit of a person and place. This rings a chord with me, as I am a purist in my photography as well, and cropping (if not in camera) is a talent which I do not posses.

I would add that Sharon's professional background in textile design and international fashion influences her photographic acuity to the point that during our trip, I frequently wondered at what she was photographing so intently in an isolated spot. Now I know what she saw and what I didn't.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Julie & Julia


I was asked if I would like to receive a copy of the Julie & Julia DVD prior to it's release in the UK - would I?

The film kept my attention all the way through and I just loved, loved, loved it! I am not a film critic and so I can quite rightly get away with saying - I just loved it!

The DVD comes with a scaled down version of the book Mastering the Art of French Cooking and very generously gives us thirty recipes, many of these you can see Julie cooking in the film.

Julia is played by the legendary Meryl Streep who characterises the part of Julia perfectly. Julie Powell is played by Amy Adams.

The film goes back in time from the moment Julia Childs and her husband arrive in Paris in the 1940s, taking us through her time at Le Cordon Bleu to writing Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Cleverly, the film then swings back and forth from Julia Childs to Julie Powell, who is cooking and blogging her way through the book.

Julie Powell embarked on this project as a way of escapism from her job as a full time secretary, she came home in the evenings and set about mastering the recipes from her heroines book in her tiny kitchen above a Pizzeria.

Julie set out to cook a staggering 524 recipes in 365 days and blog about the recipes on a daily basis. She started blogging in 2002, when the blogosphere was a much smaller place, and thought she was blogging to a void. After 5 weeks of blogging she had her first comment - unfortunately it was from her mother saying she was the only reader!

The first recipe Julie cooked from the book was Artichokes with Hollandaise Sauce. Julie put herself under considerable pressure trying to cook and blog every day and often went into meltdown! There are many very funny scenes in the film - I can only say lobsters - but you will have to watch the film!

She admirably completed the Julie & Julia Project, was given a book deal and invited to appear on the Food Network. To celebrate she invited friends to her apartment and cooked her last recipe from the book, Boned Duck Encased in Pastry.

Here is my Boeuf Bourguignon from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and as cooked by Julie Powell in the film - not the same Le Creuset Volcanic casserole though!


Julie Powell was unique, she started food blogging in the early days when the majority of us had never heard of blogs, cooked and blogged her way through Julia Childs book Mastering the Art of French Cooking in her own inimitable way, her book Julie & Julia was published and subsequently made into a film. This is now being released on DVD and Blu-ray on the 8th March, 2010.

Apart from feeling as though I was blogging to a void in the very beginning, I couldn't be much further away from Julie's story, in so much as I have never become obsessed with a chef/cookery writer or their cookery books. I prefer to flit from magazine to book, chef to cookery writer and then move on. Julie Powell was also young, creative, and living her dream. I am not sure if there will ever be another 'Julie Powell' perhaps she set the bar high - only time will tell.

Thank you to all at Greenroom.

NGM's Top Ten Photo of 2009

Photo © John Stanmeyer -All Rights Reserved

Chris Johns, the National Geographic Magazine's Editor In Chief, has listed the magazine's Top 10 Photos of the Year, which starts off the process by which its best 2009 photograph is picked. The photos cover a broad range of subject matter, from unexplored caves and endangered freshwater dolphins to the global food crisis and vanishing cultures.

In 2009, National Geographic’s photographers took more than one million images from which only 1,000 could be published in the magazine. From 1,000, these 10 were singled out for lasting significance. The photographers are John Stanmeyer, James Nachtwey, Nick Nichols, Martin Schoeller, etc.

I'm always at a loss at understanding (or rationalizing) photo editors' choices, and this list is no help at all. In my view, I've seen thousands of photographs in the 2009 issues of the National Geographic that should have made the list. So I shrug it off, and call it for what it really is...a way to generate publicity for the magazine.

Aaron Huey: Mali's Dogon Country

Photo © Aaron Huey/NY Times -All Rights Reserved

The New York Times features a slideshow of Aaron Huey's photographs of the Dogon area of Mali. The Dogon, one of Africa's most isolated ethnic groups, live in the central plateau region of Mali, south of the Niger bend near the city of Bandiagara in the Mopti region. The population is estimated at between 400,000 to 800,000.

The Dogon are best known for their mythology, their mask dances, wooden sculpture and their architecture. Partly because Dogon country is one of Mali's major tourist attractions, there has seen significant changes in their social structure, culture and belief system.

Joshua Hammers' accompanying article makes a great read, especially as it is spiced with passages such as this one:
"As we prowled around this Flintstones-like world, my photographer colleague wandered off alone. Suddenly I heard a burst of agitated voices, followed by the sight of the photographer, his three cameras dangling from his neck, racing down an alley with a half-dozen Dogon men close behind. He had ventured into a temple used for animal sacrifice, and his presence, as the Dogons saw it, had grievously polluted the site."

Aaron Huey's photographs are mostly of Tellem burial caves in the Bandiagara cliffs, but a few are of the Dogon people themselves. However, Aaron has a blog in which he features more of his Dogon photographs as published in the Smithsonian magazine.