The rise of microstock and the fact that anyone with a camera can sell cheap photos has done a lot to devalue stock photography, but is the same thing happening to the photojournalism industry? Paul Melcher says that the industry is headed in that direction:
Forget the photo agency as an agent of talented photojournalists. The key now is to have a lot of contributors worldwide and hope that one will be at the right place at the right time. With photographers everywhere chances you will get the right image at the right time will increase, like buying a lot of lottery tickets.
In the film age, the cost of film, processing, shipment was too prohibitive. Now, you can receive and store million of images for a buck or two.
[...] Thus, taking a queue from the microstock model, photojournalism is now switching to the volume based model. While profitable for a photo agency, it is devastating for photojournalism and photographers themselves.
The story is the same: as technology makes photography and the distribution of photographs easier to do, the buyers of photographs win and the producers of photographs lose.
Volume based photojournalism (via The Click)
Image credit: Everyone is a photographer. by andrew.chau
Last friday, Dayton Daily News photo editor Larry Price received instructions to lay off half of his photo staff. Rather than follow through with the order, Price — a 35-year veteran photojournalist and winner of two Pulitzer Prizes in photography — decided to sacrifice his own job instead, resigning from the post this past Monday. Ginger Christ of the Dayton BizBlog writes,
In his 35 years as a photojournalist [...], Price has seen the industry shrink, watched as newspapers cut their workforce and all but eliminated photography departments in efforts to consolidate and cut costs.
“I’ve watched this happen in newspapers year after year now. I’ve had many, many friends that have been affected, many stellar journalists,” Price said. “These people are my group. They’re my friends. They’re my colleagues. I’ve asked so much of them in the four years I’ve been here. Every time, they’ve stepped up to the plate and delivered. It wasn’t a decision I could make in good conscience.”
Price is also troubled by the fact that newspapers abandon photojournalistic quality when photos don’t help increase profits, saying, “the bottom line simply is not as important as what information can convey to people in helping them make decisions.”
(via DaytonBizBlog via The Click)
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.”
Back in Action and Back on Page 1 [NYTimes]
The AP has sacked photographer Miguel Tovar for “deliberate and misleading photo manipulation” after Tovar cloned out his own shadow from a feature photograph. The Photoshopping came to light after an alert photo editor spotted a strange looking dust pattern in a photo of Argentinian children playing soccer.
Here’s a terrific 20-minute video that features Henri Cartier-Bresson — the father of modern photojournalism — talking about his views on photography and a selection of his amazing photographs. It’s both educational and inspiring.
The decisive moment, it is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as the precise organization of forms which gives that event its proper expression.
– Henri Cartier-Bresson
If only there was one of these videos for every famous historical photographer!
Reuters photographer Beawiharta was on a short flight from Singapore to Jakarta with his wife and three kids, when one of the engines suddenly exploded into flames. As a sharp burning odor permeated the cabin, the plane began to vibrate harder and harder, and finally the electricity turned off. Accepting the fact that if they died their family would die together, Beawiharta grabbed his DSLR and started photographing:
After that, I became calm because I was not afraid to die because we would all die together. I started to adjust my camera, which was hanging around my neck. I set the ISO higher, set the white balance, checked the battery was full and saw I had around 300 clicks for the rest of the memory card. I started to take pictures, though it was dark. I forgot my Canon EOS5dmk2 has a full HD video, so I forgot to record the situation. After 20 years living as a photographer, I was thinking as a photographer. [#]
Check out some more photos and his story over on the Reuters blog.
Trading fear for photos on a stricken plane (via Gizmodo)
Image credit: Photograph by Beawiharta/Reuters and used with permission
The White House is ending its long-running practice of reenacting speeches for still photographs after the controversy was rekindled last week by President Obama’s Osama bin Laden speech.
After Obama’s live, late-evening address from the East Room of the White House on May 1, five photographers were ushered in to shoot pictures as the president stood at the podium and re-read a few lines of his speech – a practice that news organizations have protested for years.
Even though The Associated Press and other news outlets said in captions to the photos that they were taken after the president delivered his address, many people who saw them may have assumed they depicted the speech itself. That raised questions of whether news organizations were staging an event. [#]
Today a spokesperson for the President stated, “We have concluded that this arrangement is a bad idea,” and that the administration is working on a new method for photojournalists to make photographs of actual speeches.
White House Announces End To Re-Enactments For News Photographers (via Rob Galbraith)
The highly publicized wedding of Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton is happening tomorrow, and Reuters will be sending a 15 member team composed of photographers from all across Europe to cover the event. The photo above by team member Phil Noble shows the crazy amount of gear he and photographer Kai Pfaffenbach will be carrying.
The plan however (as thorough as it is) involves some serious kit. Between us we will carry 10 cameras and a vast array of glass from 800 and 600mm lenses down to a 15mm fish eye and an even wider lens on a Go-Pro action camera. Conservatively this is 50kg (110 pounds) of kit each.
We hear they’re also looking for anyone with a spare donkey that could help lug around the equipment.
Final preparations for the big day (via boywithgrenade)
Image credit: Photograph by Phil Noble/Reuters and used with permission
During the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, a number of images that became widely discussed were of 15-year-old Fabienne Cherisma, who was shot and killed by police after looting two plastic chairs and three framed pictures. One of these photographs (shown above), captured by photographer Paul Hansen, was recently chosen as the best International News Image at the Swedish Picture of the Year Awards. There was soon a good deal of discussion in the Swedish media over the ethics of such an image.
Emphas.is is a newly launched Kickstarter-esque website that brings the latest Internet craze of crowd funding to photojournalism. If you have an awesome photojournalism project that you’d like to do, you can submit the idea to the site to raise funds. If there are any projects that you’d like to see happen, you can help make it happen with a donation between $10 and $3K.
By agreeing to back a story, for a minimum contribution of $10, you are making sure that the issues that you care about receive the in-depth coverage they deserve.
In return you are invited along on the journey. Photojournalists on Emphas.is agree to enter into a direct dialogue with their backers, sharing their experiences and insights as the creative process unfolds.
It’s a pretty neat idea that will hopefully spark some really interesting photojournalistic work.