Ohio University graduate student Sara Lewkowicz recently published a disturbing and extremely controversial photo essay on domestic violence as part of Time Magazine’s LightBox series. The essay, which began as an assignment to document the stigmas associated with being an ex-convict, turned physical when the couple she had been photographing for months got into a violent fight right before her eyes.
The photo essay that resulted has caused no small amount of controversy on the internet, receiving over 1,500 comments from readers, many of which voiced their anger at the fact that Lewkowicz took pictures instead of intervening. Several of the photos show 31-year-old Shane physically assaulting his 19-year-old girlfriend Maggie while her 2-year-old daughter watched — many commenters expressed the belief that, in that situation, her camera could have been better used as a weapon. Read more…
A young Israeli soldier sparked outrage around the world and Web this past week after uploading an ill-advised photo on Instagram. The photo, pictured above, shows the back of a young Palestinian boy’s head in the crosshairs of 20-year-old Israeli sniper Mor Ostrovski’s rifle. Read more…
A new controversy is brewing in the world of stock photography. Just last month, it came to light that Getty had agreed to license 5000 of its stock photos to Google while paying the creators of the images a meager one-time fee of $12. Now, one of Getty’s most successful stock photographers is claiming that his account is being terminated in the aftermath of the first hoopla.
American portrait photographer Gregory Heisler (whom we featured yesterday) is probably best known for his 70+ cover portrait photos for TIME magazine. One of his most famous portraits shows a double exposure, “two faced” photo of President George H.W. Bush. The photograph, shot entirely in-camera, was used as the first TIME “Person of the Year” cover photo.
In 2011, photographer Michael Wolf was awarded Honorable Mention in the World Press Photo 2011 contest for screenshots taken from Google Street View. It immediately sparked a debate regarding whether or not the work should even be considered “original photography”. The Independent has an interesting article about a different Street View “photographer”: Jon Rafman, whose work we’ve featured here before.
At first, [Rafman] would spend eight to 12 hours at a time traversing the globe from his desktop. “It was destroying my body,” he says. But when the images he’d collected went viral online, he began to take submissions from other users, too. Some had collected images of prostitutes at work, others presented car accidents, even dead bodies left by the side of the road – and, presumably, ignored by Google’s drivers. Many of the images in the exhibition have now been wiped from the web: the perps lined up against a wall by the São Paolo police are gone from Google Maps. A man sitting with his legs splayed strangely around a lamppost in Toronto has been blurred into obscurity.
Rafman’s images, by contrast, are almost entirely untreated. He even leaves the Google Street View navigation tool in the top-left corner of each photograph. “The work is connected to the history of street photography,” he explains, “but also to the 20th-century ready-made movement. So leaving those artefacts in the image is extremely important. In the bottom-left corner of each picture is a link that says, ‘Report a problem’.
His work, titled The Nine Eyes of Google Street View, will soon be exhibited at London’s Saatchi Gallery.
Google Street View photographs: the man on the street [The Independent]
During the 9/11 attacks in NYC, Magnum photographer Thomas Hoepker shot what is perhaps the most controversial image created that day: a photo that appears to show a group of young people casually enjoying themselves while the World Trade Center burns in the background. Hoepker kept the image under wraps for four years and then caused quite a stir after publishing it in a 2006 book. Columnist Frank Rich wrote in the New York Times that “The young people in Mr. Hoepker’s photo aren’t necessarily callous. They’re just American.”
French photographers organization Union des Photographes Professionnels (UPP) launched a controversial new advertising campaign this week, speaking out against the use of photographs without proper permission and/or payment. The ad reads: “Each day, a photographer’s work is used without his consent”. A spokesperson for UPP states,
It’s obvious that professional photographers are not being listened to. So, for the first time, we’re speaking to the photographic community with an image. We hope to raise awareness among the public, as well as the media and the government, about photographers’ problems. Each day, photographers are faced with decreasing rates. They are forced to compete against image libraries that are offering vile prices. These practices are infringing on photographers’ moral rights.
In a blog post, the organization adds, “Each day, photographers risk their lives to allow us to stay informed. And each day, photographers continue to be dealt with as if they weren’t producing anything. [...] With this image, we want to show the violent and disrespectful economic reality that photographers have to deal with.”
(via UPP via BJP via The Click )
Remember the hoopla last year after artist/programmer Kyle McDonald installed an app on Apple store computers to secretly snap portraits of customers? Outcries of “invasion of privacy” sprang up everywhere, and Apple got the Secret Service involved in putting an end to it. Well, photographer Irby Pace has done something similar, but instead of secretly capturing images, Pace simply visits Apple Stores and harvests self-portraits “abandoned” on the devices. Pace collected over 1,000 images in 2010 by emailing and texting them to himself, and is currently displaying them in a gallery exhibition titled “Unintended Consequences”.
Unintended Consequences (via Wired)
Early in 2011, there was a brouhaha after newspaper photographer Jay Westcott complained about Lady Gaga’s photo release form given to photographers attending her concerts. PDN characterized the story as a “fame monster gobbling up photographers’ copyrights“. What you see above is a copy of the actual release form given at concerts. Apparently contracts like this one are pretty standard these days.
Clothing retailer H&M has sparked quite a bit of controversy after admitting that most of the models featured on its website are computer generated. The company says that pasting real model heads onto CGI bodies provides a better way of displaying clothes made for humans than using real humans to model them. Spokeswoman Nicole Christine tells ABC News:
This technique can be found in use throughout the industry. This is not to be seen as conveying a specific ideal or body type, but merely a technique to show our garments.
It is regrettable if we have led anyone to believe that the virtual mannequins should be real bodies. This is incorrect and has never been our intention. We will continue to discuss internally how we can be clearer about this in the information towards our customers.
Although the identical poses and proportions are hard to overlook, the company does match the skin tones of the bodies to the faces quite well, making the ‘shopped nature of individual photos difficult to detect.
(via Jezebel via kottke.org)