The use of social media has become vital for the news-reporting agencies and outlets of the world. Mix that in with the ubiquity of mobile phones, and it means there are cameras virtually everywhere, and organizations like the Associated Press know this. Read more…
That’s because those select few, including the AP’s David Guttenfelder and Jean Lee, have begun uploading the first ever Instagram photos from inside North Korea — giving us an intimate glimpse at daily life inside the very closed off country. Read more…
The Associated Press caused a stir this week after publishing the above photograph of presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. Shot at Fairfield Elementary School in Virginia, the photo had the caption,
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney poses for photographs with students of Fairfield Elementary School, Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, in Fairfield, Va.
The caption was innocent enough, but the fact that the photo looked as though a girl behind Romney was gaping at his rear end instantly drew criticism from across the web, with commentators calling it “unflattering” and “inexcusable“. Read more…
Shepard Fairey avoided jail time after all. The Obama HOPE poster artist was sentenced today to two years of probation and a $25,000 fine for using an AP photo without permission and then destroying evidence to cover his tracks. The New York Times writes that the entire dispute will be an interesting case study for fair use law:
When the case began in 2009, Mr. Fairey argued that his use of Associated Press imagery constituted fair use under copyright law. But the civil lawsuit was settled before that question was decided, and the two sides agreed to financial terms that were not disclosed. The parties also agreed to share the rights to make posters and merchandise bearing the “Hope” image. Mr. Fairey maintained that he had never personally profited from sales of the image, a contention The A.P. disputed.
[...] Until the settlement between Mr. Fairey and The Associated Press, the case was watched closely as one that might define more clearly the murky issues surrounding the fair-use exceptions to copyright protections. One of the central questions was whether Mr. Fairey’s creation, which became ubiquitous on street corners and T-shirts during and after Mr. Obama’s campaign, constituted a “transformative” use of the photograph, a use that is allowed under the law so that creative expression is not stifled.
In his official statement on the matter, AP CEO Gary Pruitt states, “We hope this case will serve as a clear reminder to all of the importance of fair compensation for those who gather and produce original news content.”
This behind-the-scenes video by the Associated Press gives a neat look at the various robotic cameras the agency will use at the London Olympic Games (earlier this month we shared some of Reuters’ rigs). Fancy remote-controlled rigs will allow for many photographic firsts, as cameras will be found in locations that were previously inaccessible. Wired writes that despite their usefulness, robotic cameras are causing some human photogs to sweat:
“We are essentially able to put cameras and photographers where they’ve never been before, capturing images in ways they’ve never been captured,” [Fabrizio] Bensch said. “For example, I’ve installed a robotic camera unit on a truss, 30 meters high — in a position where no photographer has been in a previous Olympics.”
For [Mark] Reblias, those are positions you just can’t compete against. With the traditional remote-control cameras, if the subject showed untethered joy five feet out of frame, you were out of luck. Now if Reuters is able to get that shot, “well, there’s nothing I can do,” he said. “Maybe I’ll have to upgrade my gear and make a robotic system. It’d be expensive, it might be a cost I have to take on.”
When it comes to photography agencies, Getty Images reigns supreme. Founded in 1995 by Mark Getty and Jonathan Klein, the Seattle-based behemoth in many ways took stock and editorial photography into the digital age, causing the slow decline of “former-rulers” like the AP. Between Getty’s editorial supremacy and the rise of an era where photojournalists find themselves replaced sometimes by average Joe’s with smartphones, the last few years have consisted mostly of the AP trying to staunch the bleeding. But now it seems they’re ready to fight back. Read more…
The North Korean government is the latest to get caught trying to feed a poorly Photoshopped photo to the media. This past weekend the Korean Central News Agency — a state-run organization — released a photo of citizens trying to wade through floodwaters in Pyongyang, saying that heavy rains flooded farmlands, destroyed homes, and caused deaths. After initially passing the image onto its members, the AP decided to issue a “kill notice” (yup, that’s what it’s called) a day later to withdraw the photo, stating,
The content of this image has been digitally altered and does not accurately reflect the scene [...] No other version of the photo is available.
The problem was the fact that the clothing worn by the people in the photo don’t appear to be wet at all — even where the water meets the pants! It appears the water level was much lower, and the government tried to exaggerate the image, perhaps in an attempt to appeal for international aid.
The AP published an article yesterday titled “How Much Longer Can Photographic Film Hold On?” that gives a pretty grim outlook for the future of film. About a decade ago, Americans were purchasing close to 1 billion rolls of film and 19.7 million film cameras every year. This year, only about 20 million rolls will be sold and film camera sales may fall below 100,000.
For InfoTrends imaging analyst Ed Lee, film’s fade-out is moving sharply into focus: “If I extrapolate the trend for film sales and retirements of film cameras, it looks like film will be mostly gone in the U.S. by the end of the decade.”
As high schools and colleges find the rising costs of analog photography prohibitive, they’re transitioning to a completely digital curriculum and shutting down their darkrooms, further reducing the demand for film. Film lovers, enjoy it while it lasts!
President Obama announced last week that photographs of Osama bin Laden’s body would not be released to the public due to concerns that it would incite violence and hatred, but a number of news agencies and advocacy groups are attempting to have them released using a Freedom of Information Act request. The Associated Press is one of the agencies that filed a FOIA request (they’re also requesting that video of the raid be released), and the US government has 20 days to respond. Read more…