The New York Times has launched a new Tumblr site called “The Lively Morgue” to breathe new life into items in the newspaper’s photo archive (nicknamed “The Morgue”). Each week they’ll be sharing several historical photographs found in massive collection. Just how massive?
We don’t know. Our best guess is five million to six million prints and contact sheets (each sheet, of course, representing many discrete images) and 300,000 sacks of negatives, ranging in format size from 35 millimeter to 5 by 7 inches — at least 10 million frames in all. The picture archive also includes 13,500 DVDs, each storing about 4.7 gigabytes worth of imagery. When the Museum of Modern Art set out to exhibit the highlights of the Times archive in 1996, it dispatched four curators. They spent nine months poring over 3,000 subjects, working with two Times editors, one of whom spent a year on the project. In the end, they estimated that they’d seen only one-quarter of the total. [#]
To make the project even more interesting, they’re also publishing an image of the reverse side of each print. This often reveals information such as how often the image was used, notes by the photographer, and the original caption that was chosen.
The New York Times has sent an angry letter to the New York Police Department after video emerged showing photojournalist Robert Stolarik being pushed around and then blocked while trying to photograph officers arresting Occupy Wall Street protestors. The memo itself hasn’t be published, but NYT VP and assistant general counsel George Freeman is quoted as saying,
It seemed pretty clear from the video that the Times freelance photographer was being intentionally blocked by the police officer who was kind of bobbing and weaving to keep him from taking photographs
The department has acknowledged receiving the note from the NYT, but has not issued a formal response yet. This incident comes just weeks after Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly ordered officers to avoid unreasonably interfering with media access during news coverage. Read more…
After Bang-Bang Club photographer Joao Silva lost his legs to a land mine in Afghanistan in October of last year, NYTimes executive editor Bill Keller stated, “He will be missed until — as I have no doubt he will — he returns to action, cameras blazing.” Keller predicted correctly — Silva has returned to work less than a year after suffering his horrific injuries:
[...] as the Times correspondent Sabrina Tavernise rushed uphill on Wednesday to cover the closing ceremony at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, she spotted a very familiar face in the crowd. Mr. Silva, wearing a T-shirt with the exclamation “Pow!” written across the front, was already on the scene. He was smiling. He was walking on his prosthetic legs. And he was taking pictures.
One of those photos, of soldiers and visitors watching a parachute demonstration during the ceremony, was chosen for Page 1 of The Times on Thursday. [#]
Silva tells the NYTimes, “It was a matter of making the best of what I had. There will come a time when I can run, but now I can walk.”
Earlier this week the New York Times was lent a mysterious photo album that contained 214 photos of Nazi Germany, including images taken just feet away from Hitler. There was no indication of who the photographer was, so the Lens blog decided to publish some of the photos and crowdsource the task of solving the mystery. Read more…
That’s why, for years, there were two kinds of cameras: pocket models, with tiny sensors that produce blurry or grainy photos in low light and S.L.R. cameras, those big-sensor, big-body, heavy black beasts used by professionals.
In the last couple of years, though, things have changed. There’s a new class of camera whose size (both body and sensor) falls in between those two time-honored extremes. They represent a rethinking of every single design element, a jettisoning of every nonessential component, in pursuit of a tiny, big-sensor camera. Because that, after all, is what the world really wants.
Do you think these cameras are “what the world really wants”?
New York Times photographer Lynsey Addario was recently released along with three male journalists after being taken captive in Libya. After details of her abuse was reported in the news, there were immediately reactions from those who believe that female journalists shouldn’t be assigned to war zones because of the risks. Addario responded yesterday, saying:
If a woman wants to be a war photographer, she should. It’s important. Women offer a different perspective. We have access to women on a different level than men have, just as male photographers have a different relationship with the men they’re covering.
[...] when I was in Libya, I was groped by a dozen men. But why is that more horrible than what happened to Tyler or Steve or Anthony — being smashed on the back of the head with a rifle butt? Why isn’t anyone saying men shouldn’t cover war? Women and men should do what they believe they need to do.
I don’t think it’s more dangerous for a woman to do conflict photography. Both men and women face the same dangers.
Here’s an interesting snippet from an article published today by David Pogue of the New York Times that describes a trick one photographer uses to overcome the megapixel myth:
A few years back, one of his clients, a stock-photo company, rejected his submissions because they didn’t meet the company’s minimum-resolution requirements. All photos had to be, for example, 10 megapixels or higher.
Tom knew that his five-megapixel photos (or whatever they were) would print perfectly well; he knew that the megapixel myth was at play. But he couldn’t convince the stock agency that its megapixel requirement was based on mythology.
So he took a photo file from a buddy who owned a fancy high-end Canon SLR, pasted in his low-res photo, and dragged it out bigger, so that it filled the full area of the higher-resolution photo. (Why did he start with his buddy’s file? So that the metadata—the invisible information about the photographic settings embedded in every digital photo—would indicate to the stock agency that the picture was taken with that high-end camera.)
Not only was the stock agency fooled, but to this day, many of its customers have used Tom’s phony high-megapixel photos in professional publications. They’ve all been delighted by the quality.
It would be interesting to find out how widespread this kind of fakery is in the photo industry.
If you’re subscribed to the New York Times, you might have noticed some unique-looking war photographs featured as the top story when opening up the paper yesterday. The four photographs were actually iPhone photos taken by NYT photographer Damon Winter in Afghanistan, and processed with the popular app Hipstamatic. Earlier this year AP photographer David Guttenfelder did the same thing in Afghanistan with an iPhone and a Polaroid filter app.