Last week we reported that starting with Adobe CS6, only people who own the previous major release of the software (i.e. CS5 and above) will be eligible for upgrade pricing. Needless to say, Photoshop users are’t too happy about the changes, and now National Association of Photoshop Professionals president Scott Kelby is weighing in. In an open letter to Adobe, he writes,
While I understand that Adobe needs to make business decisions based on how it sees market conditions, I feel the timing of this new pricing structure is patently unfair to your customers (and our members). Here’s why: You didn’t tell us up front. You didn’t tell us until nearly the end of the product’s life cycle, and now you’re making us buy CS5.5 for just a few months on the chance that we might want to buy CS6 at a discount when it’s released. Otherwise, we have to pay the full price as if we were never Adobe customers at all.
Kelby also makes a plea for Adobe to either start the new policy with CS7 or to offer a tiered upgrade structure in which upgrade price is based on how recent your version is. That definitely makes more sense than having CS4 users pay full price to upgrade to CS6.
An Open Letter To Adobe Systems [Scott Kelby]
Here are some developments in the ongoing Olympus scandal: investors and a former director are currently calling for fired CEO Michael Woodford to be brought back to clean house and right the ship. At the same time, The New York Times is reporting that Japanese investigators are still trying to understand a $4.9 billion hole in Olympus’ financial records, and believe that over half of that amount were paid to organized crime groups in Japan. More specifically, the company is accused of being linked to Yamaguchi-Gumi, the country’s most infamous yazuka organization.
Back in September we shared the story of Teresa Berg, a photographer who volunteers her time to take professional quality adoption photos for dogs in shelters. Sadly, similar efforts to save dogs through photography aren’t always encouraged. A woman named Emily Tanen was fired from Animal Care and Control of New York City back in May for her photos of dogs scheduled to be euthanized. Her crime? Violating the group’s strict photo policy, which includes a rule prohibiting showing humans in photos. The New York Times writes,
When she started working at Care and Control, Ms. Tanen said, she believed that the animals were photographed poorly and that the images failed to convey the warmth of a potential pet.
With her art background from her studies, Ms. Tanen decided she could do a better job with her $1,500 Nikon.
[...] Ms. Tanen said she tried to comply with the rules, but sometimes felt her judgment trumped her superiors’. She continued to show people’s hands touching a dog, even after receiving a warning against doing so. “I think they just didn’t want photos of animals that they were about to kill looking cute and adoptable and happy with people, but they said it was because their research showed that photos with people didn’t encourage people to adopt,” she said.
You can see some more of Tanen’s photographs here (be warned: they show humans).
Fired From a Shelter After Photographing the Animals (via Gizmodo)
There was a minor hoopla yesterday after Boing Boing shared that mugshot photos of arrested Occupy Portland protesters were being uploaded by the Portland Police Department to Facebook. The police department quickly explained that it’s their standard practice to publish mugshots that are of media interest. However, many people are still uncomfortable with the idea of Facebook being used as a way to share mugshots. Stan Horaczek at PopPhoto writes,
While it doesn’t seem that there’s anything legally wrong with the photos ending up where they are, it is a little…creepy. Facial recognition software is getting scary accurate and with something as simple and straight forward as a mugshot, any program looking for a person on the web would almost certainly be able to find them without any trouble.
Regarding the copyright status of mugshots: did you know that federal mugshots are automatically entered into the public domain in the US?
(via Boing Boing via PopPhoto)
More news from the ongoing Olympus scandal: despite an official explanation issued by Olympus last week, the company’s stock has continued to plummet. It closed today at ¥1,099, down from around ¥2,500 before the crisis began. Investors are apparently spooked after a major Japanese newspaper suggested that the payments at the center of the controversy could have links to the criminal underworld (something the company has denied). The New York Times is reporting that the FBI is now involved in the investigation.
Bloomberg writes that Olympus’ stock price makes it an attractive option for a potential acquisition: the current price pegs Olympus’ market value at $3.85 billion, even though its medical-equipment business alone is worth $7.8 billion.
Image credit: Olympus E-510 test by idua_japan
Update: Olympus has released an official response to the allegations.
Since Olympus abruptly fired CEO Michael Woodford (pictured, on left) four days ago, the company’s stock price has fallen from roughly ¥2,480 to its current price of ¥1,417, a 43% drop that wiped out nearly $4 billion in value. As we reported yesterday, Woodford is now asking the UK to investigate the company’s financial practices, and is claiming that he was booted when on the verge of exposing fraud.
Last Friday, we reported that Olympus had fired CEO Michael Woodford, claiming that he clashed with the company’s 92-year-old management style. Woodford is now coming out with different story: he believes that he was dismissed after raising questions about $1+ billion in payments the company made in acquisitions between 2006 and 2008. The Financial Times writes,
Mr Woodford [...] had been pressing other directors since July to explain payments related to the 2008 purchase of Gyrus [...]
Olympus’ own auditors had privately identified problems with the Gyrus transaction, the documents show. KPMG, Olympus’ auditor until 2009, said in an internal report dated March that year: “In our opinion proper accounting records have not been maintained.”
Olympus replaced KPMG as its auditor when its contract ended two months later.
Mr Woodford stressed that he had seen no evidence that Olympus executives benefited improperly from the acquisitions. But he said large amounts of money seemed to have “disappeared” into the hands of poorly vetted outside financial advisers and investment vehicles.
According to BusinessWeek, Woodford has met with the U.K. Serious Fraud Office to request that they investigate the acquisition. Olympus is also considering suing Woodford for leaking internal information to the press.
Ex-Olympus chief questioned payments (via 4/3 Rumors)
Last Friday, 45-year-old Chris White was at the Braehead shopping center near Glasgow, when he took a snapshot of his daughter Hazel eating some ice cream. He was then confronted by security guards — and later the police — who cited the Prevention of Terrorism Act to explain that it was in their rights to confiscate his phone. While they did allow him to keep the photos, they demanded his personal details. Afterward, White created a Facebook page titled “Boycott Braehead” in an effort to draw attention to the incident.
Earlier this week, a Reuters photograph showing a Libyan rebel firing an RPG caused a stir after people on a number of sites suggested that it might have been Photoshopped. Well, it turns out the photo is 100% real — not only did Reuters confirm this with us, but forensic expert Neal Krawetz arrived at the same conclusion after analyzing the image:
By using a suite of analysis methods, it becomes extremely difficult for a fake image to pass unnoticed. While an intentional forgery might pass one or two tests, it takes a level of skill that most photographers and amateur graphic artists lack. This picture easily passes every test (including a whole slew that I didn’t include here). I have no reason to question the authenticity of this picture.
Typically, amazing photos come about through digital modifications. However in this case, Anis Mili has truly captured an amazing photo. And he did it without using a crutch like Photoshop.
You should definitely give Krawetz’s blog post a read — it’s an interesting look at image forensics.
Without a Crutch [The Hacker Factor Blog]
You’ve probably heard the expression “It’s the photographer, not the camera”, but apparently Nikon — or at least one of its PR people — hasn’t. A few hours ago the company updated its Facebook page with,
A photographer is only as good as the equipment he uses, and a good lens is essential to taking good pictures! Do any of our facebook fans use any of the NIKKOR lenses? Which is your favorite and what types of situations do you use it for?
Needless to say, the post was met with quite a bit of disagreement in the comments.