I was extremely nervous. Since they are gangsters, I thought I should be very careful, in case I shot something I wasn’t supposed to see. But this actually upset the gang. They saw my nervousness as disrespectful. I remember one time early on this guy pulled me aside and said, “You are here to take pictures. Act like a professional.” It turned out they respected me if I was really aggressive about getting a certain shot. To not take photos was a sign of weakness.
As his surname suggests, Kusters is not from Japan (he’s from Belgium). It took 10 months of negotiations before he and his brother were given an unprecedented access into the closed world of Japanese organized crime. Read more…
Mexican photojournalist Julian Cardona has lived in Ciudad Juarez since 1960 and began documenting the city in the early 1990s as a photojournalist for the local newspaper, El Diario. He says he’s seen Juarez shift from an idyllic postcard-worthy border town to the city known as the homicide capital of the world. Read more…
An update to the financial scandal over at Olympus, which has quieted down quite a bit in recent days: former Chairman and President Tsuyoshi Kikukawa has been arrested with six other people (including three former executives) for “suspected violation of Japan’s Financial Instruments and Exchange Act”. As you might remember, Kikukawa replaced ex-CEO Michael Woodford after Woodford’s abrupt dismissal and stated that the move was because Woodford — who’s from the UK — didn’t fit into the company’s culture. Less than two weeks later, Kikukawa himself stepped down as the company found itself in an international financial fraud case.
There’s some shady business going on at CES 2012 in Vegas. Sigma has announced that one of the lenses it unveiled at the trade show this year, the 180mm f/2.8 macro lens, disappeared after being unveiled on Tuesday. The lens is believed to be one of only two pre-production models that exist.
The London Evening Standard has published a fascinating article on a photograph captured by Getty photographer Oli Scarff, which shows a near-fatal stabbing that occurred during London’s Notting Hill Carnival back in August. After being published around the world, the photograph changed the lives of the subjects seen it it. The fleeing man was identified from the photo and sentenced to 4.5 years in jail, the policeman was criticized for his apparent indifference (a claim he disputes), and the man trying to trip the attacker was hailed as a hero but subsequently named as an ex-Russian police officer who was dismissed over murder allegations.
Three years ago, an Illinois man named Michael Allison was arrested for videotaping police in public in accordance with the state’s extremely strict wiretapping laws. He faced up to 75 years in prison for his crime, but a few months ago an Illinois judge ruled that the laws were unconstitutional and threw out the case. However, the State of Illinois is now appealing to the Supreme Court to have the dismissal overturned.
In year 2008, something happened at Olympus that turned the company from an entity focussed on seven major business areas, into a company completely out of focus, blurred by a total of seventeen business areas, to include real estate, investments, consulting, waste disposal, labor dispatch, and running travel agencies. Igari Toshiro, former prosecutor turned anti-yakuza crusader, who was Japan’s greatest expert on white-collar organized crime aka the keizai yakuza (経済ヤクザ）and many veteran organized crime detectives have stated that one of the first signs that a company has been infiltrated by anti-social forces is a sudden and totally new change in company direction–especially into areas like waste disposal, labor dispatch (temporary staffing), and real estate—all areas where anti-social forces have carved out a large niche for themselves.
Just days after being fired, former Chairman Michael Woodford was quoted as saying, “There were $800 million in payments to buy companies making face cream and Tupperware. What the hell were we doing paying $800 million for these companies?”
Earlier this year we saw the launch of two search engines — Stolen Camera Finder and GadgetTrak Serial Search — that help find stolen cameras by searching photos on the web for the serial numbers. The idea is neat, but no one knew whether it would actually help recover stolen gear or not. Turns out it does work. Read more…
If your photographs ever include the faces of strangers, you might not want to move to Slovenia. Boštjan Burger, a Slovenian photographer that shoots immersive 360° panoramas, has been ordered by the government there to take down roughly 11,000 photo from his website and delete them from his backups because they violate privacy laws. His crime? Showing faces, street addresses, and license plates in his panoramas taken in public locations. Rather than face a year in jail and a €12,000 (~$20,000) fine, photo pages on his site now read “DISPLAY OF VIRTUAL REALITY PANORAMA IS DISABLED DUE THE SLOVENIAN GOVERNMENT INSPECTION”.
Turns out living in the European Union doesn’t automatically grant you basic photographers’ rights.
If ordinary citizens have the right to photograph police in public places, what about the other way around? That’s a question that’s sure to be asked often in the coming days, as 40 law enforcement agencies across the US are planning to use iPhones to photograph civilians for the purpose of identifying wanted perps. The system, called Mobile Offender Recognition and Information System (MORIS), costs $3,000 apiece and will be able to do facial recognition searches on a database of known criminals. Photographers’ rights will apply to cops too — police won’t be required to ask permission before snapping a photograph of your face!