AFP photographer Joe Klamar’s portraits of US Olympic athletes have caused a firestorm of controversy in the past week, with people calling the images “insulting” due to their lighting, angles, and concepts. Klamar has responded to the controversy over on AFP. Rather than being intentionally “bad” for the purpose of making a point, they were simply the result of being unprepared:
“I was under the impression that I was going to be photographing athletes on a stage or during press conference where I would take their headshots for our archives,” [Klamar] explained. “I really had no idea that there would be a possibility for setting up a studio.” It was the first time AFP had been invited to participate in the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Media Summit, which was held this year, in May, at a Hilton Hotel in Dallas.
Joe had come armed with two cameras and three lenses (17-35, 70-200 and 300), plus one flash and a 12-inch laptop. To his horror, he saw upon arriving that his colleagues from other news agencies and media organizations had set up studio booths with professional lights, backdrops and prop assistants. “It was very embarrassing to find out that I wouldn’t be able to take advantage of a studio,” Joe told us by email.
Pixels and piety: Photographing Olympic icons (via A Photo Editor)
Image credits: Photographs by Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images
Over the last couple of weeks, USA Today has been under fire for deciding not to send their seasoned veteran photographers to cover the London Olympics. Having just bought US Presswire last September, parent company Gannett have decided instead to use the photographers and contractors at their disposal through them. Read more…
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 )
One of the biggest stories in the news over the past month has been the controversy surrounding the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Poynter has published an article that examines how the media has used photography to portray Trayvon Martin, the victim, and George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman who shot and killed him.
The dominant photo of Martin shows him 13 or 14 years old, wearing a red Hollister T-shirt. Other photos, none of them recent, depict a young Martin in a youth football uniform, holding a baby and posing with a snowboard. He is the picture of innocence.
The most common photo of Zimmerman is a 2005 police mugshot. He is 22 in the photo, which was taken after he was arrested for assaulting an officer. (The charges were dropped.) He looks unhappy, if not angry.
The contrast — the two photos are often published side by side — has led to criticism that news media have tilted the story in favor of the 17-year-old victim and against the 28-year-old man who shot him.
The iconic photos of Trayvon Martin & George Zimmerman & why you may not see the others [Poynter]
In mid-January, Nikon sent an letter out to independent camera repair technicians across the US, informing them that “it will no longer make repair parts available for purchase by repair facilities that have not been authorized by Nikon Inc. to perform camera repairs.” After July 13th, 2012, unauthorized repair shops will no longer be able to repair Nikon cameras — a huge part of their business — with official manufacturer-approved parts. iFixit writes,
Scott Jarvie, a full-time photographer, outlined his concerns with the policy in a detailed Google+ post. He demonstrates how silly the new policy seems by comparing cameras to cars. What if your car broke, and you went to your favorite mechanic, but he told you that you’re out of luck? Though he could fix your car by tomorrow, your car’s manufacturer will no longer allow him to buy the necessary parts. Instead, you have to send your car to your car manufacturer’s own repair shop (which, if we’re taking this analogy all the way, has a much poorer BBB rating than your own local shop) or one of two dozen manufacturer-authorized repair shops—oh, you don’t live near one of those? There’s not even one in your state? Too bad. Forget driving to work this week; you’re going to have to ship in your car.
If you want to speak out against this new policy, there’s an online petition you can sign that has already raised thousands of signatures.
How Nikon is Killing Camera Repair [iFixit]
Image credit: No more photos temporarily by Stefan Marks
After discovering his photograph used without permission on The Telegraph’s website, photographer Jonathan Kent contacted the newspaper asking to be compensated for the unauthorized use. He then received an email from deputy picture editor Matthew Fearn, who defended the newspaper’s actions, stating,
[Due to the] ever-shifting nature of news – in particular with the advent of online publishing – [...] it is not always possible to secure copyright clearance before pictures are published.
Our industry therefore adopts the stance that if a picture has no overwhelming artistic value and if there is no issue of exclusivity (ie it is already being published online or elsewhere) then no reasonable copyright owner will object to its being republished in exchange for a reasonable licence fee. The only alternative to such a stance is not to publish pictures at all unless they come from a commercial library, the available range of which will inevitably be inadequate.
[...] In this instance, and in light of what you have told us, we have no reason to doubt that you are the copyright owner for this picture. However the blog from which it was taken gave no indication as to the copyright owner and no contact details. We therefore used it (in fact we inadvertently used it again for some four hours this morning) in the normal way, which is to say that we were always prepared to pay the industry standard rate.
Fearn has reportedly offered Kent £400 to settle the case, arguing that it is a higher amount than Kent would be awarded by the court.
Telegraph’s picture editor caught in copyright infringement blunder [BJP]
Image credit: journalist by alexgamela
The Sacramento Bee has suspended award-winning staff photographer Bryan Patrick after it was discovered that he had Photoshopped two photographs of an egret eating a frog into a single photo. The newspaper, which is the 5th largest in California and the 25th largest in the US, says that the manipulation was done to make the frog more visible while still showing a second bird lunging for it. NPPA president Sean Elliot labeled the case a “betrayal”:
If this photographer in Sacramento can diddle around with a photograph of an egret, how can I know that any photograph I look at is trustworthy? It feels like a betrayal. [...] It violates a feeling of trust I think we have with all of our members.
The case is reminiscent of LA Times reporter Brian Walski’s infamous splicing of Iraq war photographs (though the subject matter is nowhere near as divisive).
(via SacBee via News 10 via Poynter)
Image credits: Photographs by Bryan Patrick/The Sacramento Bee
The Washington Post raised some eyebrows last Friday after running an uber-saturated front page photo with the caption stating that it was “a composite created by taking several photos and combining them with computer software to transcend the visual limitations of standard photography.” After emailing the photo editor, Poynter learned that the image was simply an HDR photograph. While it’s a pretty common technique these days, some believe that it has no place in photojournalism,
Sean Elliot, president of the National Press Photographers Association, said, “HDR is not appropriate for documentary photojournalism.” The organization’s code of ethics say photographers should respect the integrity of the digital moment, “and in that light an HDR photo is no different from any other digital manipulation.”
“By using HDR,” he told me by email, “The Washington Post has combined different moments, and thereby created an image that does not exist. The aircraft visible in the final product was not there for all the other moments combined into the final, and that alone simply raises too many questions about the factual validity of the actual published image.” [#]
What complicates matters is that many new cameras (e.g. Nikon D4, Apple iPhone 4S) offer HDR features that create single images from multiple exposures in the camera. The Washington Post published a response to the controversy yesterday. Do you think HDR is an appropriate technique for photojournalists to use?
(via The Washington Post via Poynter)
Image credits: Screenshot from The Washington Post, and photograph by Bill O’Leary
Adobe caused a stir last November after changing its upgrade policy to only cover one version back instead of three. This meant that only Photoshop CS5 owners would qualify for the upgrade price on CS6 when it’s launched, leaving CS3 and CS4 owners the not-so-nice option of buying the CS5 upgrade before buying the CS6 one. Perhaps in response to the angry customer response, Adobe announced a “special offer” for CS3 and CS4 owners today:
[...] we want to make sure our customers have plenty of time to determine which offering is best for them. Therefore, we’re pleased to announce that we will offer special introductory upgrade pricing on Creative Suite 6 to customers who own CS3 or CS4. This offer will be available from the time CS6 is released until December 31, 2012.
We’ll find out just how much of a discount those users will receive once CS6 is released. It also appears that Adobe isn’t planning to restore the old upgrade policy — today’s announcement is more of a one-time fix for angry customers.
(via Adobe via John Nack)
Image credit: Adobe Creative Sweet CS5 by pcfishhk