Posts Tagged 'New York Times'

Photography Profession Hurting

There’s a very sobering article in the New York Times today about the state of photography. In sum: Professional photographers are hurting. Forces have conspired to make it so there are less and less paying opportunities. Meanwhile, amateurs are getting those coveted assignments, accepting lower fees and devaluing the profession.

“There are very few professional photographers who, right now, are not hurting,” said Holly Stuart Hughes, editor of the magazine Photo District News.

So many sad facts in this piece. There are fewer outlets for photographers (428 magazines closed in 2009!). Due to budget constraints, stock photography is now more commonplace — meaning less original work, less creativity. Digital cameras have democratized the skill of taking photos. Anyone can do it.

But with “anyone” doing it, we lose the professional’s expertise. The ability to tell a story, an understanding of ethics and standards, long-term perspective and frame of reference. The same is true with journalism and writing. Some parts of this democratization is good, like new voices and viewpoints and people who never would have had the chance before are now heard.

But, ultimately what it comes down to is that this free content model of the internet is not sustainable. The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, et al. cannot produce as high quality content as they do and still give it away. I don’t know what our media landscape will look like in five or 10 years, but it’s safe to say that it will look very different from today. And we may be worse for it.

Article from New York Times

Bill Cunningham’s Street Style

From Bill Cunningham New York

Readers of the New York Times Style section know Bill Cunningham’s work — the guy is a dogged chronicler of the city’s street fashion in his regular column “On the Street.” And at 81, he’s not showing any signs of slowing down. He is also famously idiosyncratic, getting around the city on a bike, wearing his signature blue smock, and living a spare existence in a tiny one-room apartment.

On top of the that, he’s extremely private, so it’s no small feat that the documentary Bill Cunningham New York came to be. It actually took 10 years to make and eight of those were spent convincing Cunningham to participate. The NY Times’ Lens blog tells the story of the documentary here.

“It isn’t what I think, it’s what I see,” Mr. Cunningham says. “I let the street speak to me. You’ve got to stay on the street and let the street tell you what it is.”

There will be three screenings in New York this month. Go here for more info.

Is Ripping Off Flickr Photogs OK?

20-2 Image by discarted

This week, in the New York Times tech blogGadgetwise,” writer Sonia Zjawinski advised readers to download “practically free!” flickr images to decorate their walls.

Of all the artwork I have in my studio apartment (there isn’t a bare wall in the house), my Flickr finds get the most attention. Best of all, they were practically free! I use a Kodak ESP7 AIO printer to ink my finds on various sizes of photo paper and frame them in inexpensive frames found at Urban Outfitters or Ikea. The only thing I pay for is ink, paper and frames — peanuts, in my opinion. 

Now, I get it’s a neat interior design trick she’s stumbled upon. The fact that she’s printing it for public consumption – in the New York Times of all places! The pinnacle of journalistic integrity! – floors me. She’s basically endorsing theft.

Because of the firestorm of complaints, Zjawinski wrote an update to say she consulted a couple lawyers who (absolve her and) say it’s basically a grey area and OK as long as you ask permission. It’s a grey area alright, and you sure as hell can’t control what people are printing in the privacy of their homes. But for her to publish something like that with no research or forethought is so seriously irresponsible – and, sad to say it, goes to show how little respect there is for photographers’ rights that it didn’t even cross her mind to do so.

 Article via New York Times

Looking Into the “Lens”

At a time when newspapers are shrinking, if not outright dying, a new blog dedicated to photojournalism projects is a heartening development for photographers and fans alike. This week, the New York Times  debuted its large-format photojournalism blog called Lens. With content spanning their vast archives up to present day, what’s also interesting is that the mission is to not only highlight the best of Times photographers but also other media outlets. But lest you think it’s a glamorous big-dollar venture, it’s actually a fairly simple proposition.

From an article in Editor & Publisher:

In a sign of how online publishing is often run on a shoestring, the blog has no dedicated staff and no budget for photography. It will showcase work shot for the Times’ print edition, personal projects by Times photographers, wire service photographs, and work provided for publication at no cost.

E&P says the blog was in part inspired by’s The Big Picture, but Lens is more sleek, sophisticated and comprehensive. The format is user-friendly too, allowing viewers to peruse the photographs vertically rather than horizontally, which is a nice feature. Definitely worth checking out.

Record Your Vote

Photo by airencracken

If you haven’t heard, the most important presidential election in our lifetime – or at least the most important one since the last one – is one week from today. In the spirit of citizen journalism, both the New York Times and YouTube/PBS have developed interactive features that we all can contribute to: “Polling Place Photo Project” and “Video the Vote” respectively. They want you to document what it’s like to vote in your town or city – the lines, the ballots, the protesters, the banana bread sold by the local PTA – and upload it to their site. 

Just keep in mind that the laws regarding photography at polling places are strict so as to prevent voter intimidation, and you don’t want to mess around with election officials who can throw you in jail. Here in California, you can’t photograph or film within 100 feet of a polling place. And that means 100 feet of the rooms where ballots are cast.

To see what the rules are in your state, go here.

Photographer’s Journal

Photo by Max Becherer/New York Times

Today the New York Times’ Baghdad Bureau introduced the Photographer’s Journal, a regular feature that aims to give some insight into shooting in Iraq, from the photojournalist’s perspective. The first one is “The Gap: Haifa Street 2004 and 2008” by Max Becherer, who describes the circumstances behind two Haifa Street photos four years apart. One is chaos; one is calm. Becherer explains what the photographer’s prized “gap” is:

The gap is the moment of time after something catastrophic happens but before everyone reacts to it. It is a solid gold moment for any photographer, be it in a war zone or in New York City, with a news photographer trying to beat the police cordon.

Article via New York Times.

To see more of Max Becherer’s work, go here.

%d bloggers like this: