Do Photojournalism Contests Glamorize Pain and Suffering?

In a break from the past, World Press Photo (WPP) released the short list of finalists in advance of naming the winners to their annual contest – arguably the most prestigious in all of photojournalism. The photos are remarkable for their composition, exposure, and intimacy. But judging by the subject matter one might surmise that we’re living in a hellish dystopia, or that the jury believes pain and suffering is the most valid form of photojournalism. A more nuanced look at all the finalists reveals a broader range of subject matter, but that doesn’t alter the fact that the Photo
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My Worst Day Ever as a Photographer at the Olympics

This past Saturday was a really horrible day for me. But before I tell you all the story, I should preface this by saying that even though yesterday was brutal, I know that I am at the 2018 Winter Olympics and lucky to be here. OK, I got that out the way, so here it goes. After staying up until 2 am on the day of Opening Ceremony, editing photos, and writing blog posts, I was exhausted and went to bed. I had a free day with no hockey commitments and was hoping to sleep in a little before heading
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Did this Photographer ‘Try’ to Get the Shot, or Did He Nail It?

Vanity Fair contributor Joanna Robinson raised the ire of photographers with this tweet regarding an image taken of figure skater Adam Rippon by Getty Images photographer Dean Mouhtaropoulos. Robinson later clarified her position as a misinterpretation, but putting the nuance of language aside, how successful is this image?

“Dragging
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Don’t Go Trendy with Film: Learn Photography Faster with Digital

Are you setting out on your journey of discovery in the wonderful world of photography? Are you wondering whether to go for digital or follow the fad for film? Are you intending to invest in some gear but don’t want to waste your hard earned cash on kit that doesn’t help you to progress? Here’s some advice from a photographer who has seen both sides extensively. Yep, I’m that old. I spent 30 years with film cameras, a short time using both in the infancy of digital, then the last 11 years using digital moving from bridge cameras, through DSLR
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I Interviewed a ‘Photographer’ Who Had Stolen Photos… From ME

A few months ago, a girl came in to apply for a social media position at my last job. I was one of three photographers at the company and we had an opening for another photographer position. She mentioned to the HR recruiter that she also does photography. The HR guy comes and grabs me to tell me this and was wondering if I wanted to interview her for the open photographer position as well. So I said, “Sure, let me see her portfolio.” To my surprise, her “portfolio” included my photos. I was in total shock and told
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#MenToo: On Sexual Misconduct in the Photo Industry

In light of another prominent figure in the photography industry being accused of sexual misconduct, I feel compelled to pen my feelings about it all, specifically what it has done to MY profession of choice; photojournalism. First and foremost, I am saddened. Saddened to know that there are people in positions of influence that would use their stature to satisfy their own sexual inefficiencies. Saddened that the actions of a few have tarnished the good name of the majority. Saddened that they have given the already much maligned industry of photojournalism another unwelcomed black eye. When Lady Di was killed,
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5 Reasons to Buy a Contax T2

I recently went on short vacation in Italy. Visiting La Spezia was the perfect opportunity for me to finally try out the famous Contax T2 that I got recently. I hit the streets of La Spezia with the camera loaded with Kodak TX400 film. Here are 5 reasons you should consider buying a Contax T2:

#1. The Lens is Amazing

As soon as you have the 38mm f/2.8 Sonar lens from Carl Zeiss pull its head out when you switch on the camera, you know it’s not here to fool around. This is some serious glass. The aperture ring
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Think About How You Use Instagram with ‘The Flyer Theory’

No matter how you feel about Instagram, if you’re reading this you know that you need it. Period. Social media can change careers. Instead of being stuck working with people in your 15-mile radius, you’re now open to the world. But if you’re reading this, you’re probably also using Instagram wrong. If you need help with your Instagram, there’s one cheat, trick, hack, whatever you want to call it, that’s free and more beneficial than anything else you can do. How often do you engage with accounts you don’t follow? Do you stick to the photos in your feed? Or
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I Named These Puppies Click, Bokeh, Nikon, Sensor, Skrim, and Gobo

Late last year, my wife and I had to say goodbye to one of our beloved dogs, Sophie. She was far too young and our loss was devastating. After several months, one of my breeder clients (Kristen from Zero Gravity Australian Shepherds) announced a litter coming. I have photographed many of her litters and have used her dogs as models in many of my concept shoots. We have always admired her dogs so we decided it was time to add a puppy to our home. Kristen was amazingly gracious and decided to have a photography theme to the names for
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The Story of Sean Flynn’s Leica M2

This is a story about a camera, a rather special camera. Every camera has a history, so they say. But it is not all that often that one has such a rich and documented history. One that was thought to be lost but has been found again. This is the story of Sean Flynn’s Leica M2. I have been very lucky throughout my career to have found some amazing cameras, but every now and again you come across something that sets itself apart. This is one of those cameras. The vast majority of the cameras I see have no
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Zeiss Otus: Another Level of Quality

I have been shooting using Zeiss optics for decades. The appreciation was instilled in me by my grandfather who collected cameras quite seriously, including a large Leica collection. He passed on a few cameras like the Argus C3, Zeiss Ikoflex Twin Lens Reflex, Rollei 35, etc. as well as a few large format and enlarging lenses, often explaining to me that Zeiss was the real leader of optics. He had a thing for German engineering and I understand why. Ironically, he was a Lt. Colonel in the US army in WWII and in charge of many demolitions. As a hobbyist
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Why I Rejected Your Request for Free Photos

This post is dedicated to all the people who have completely lost their sense of common decency. I have a destructive humbleness that most people do not understand (myself included). I do not have a Patreon page, I do not run ads on my website, I have never asked for donations. However, for some reason, I get the feeling that this leads people to believe I do everything for free. This could not be further from the truth. You want to use my work? Great! How about you pay me for it? No? Of course not, what was I
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Rant: How Sony Can Fix the Terrible Menus on Its Great Cameras

Many Sony shooters rave about their cameras but rant about the menu systems within them. Camera reviewer Maarten Heilbron has some ideas on what’s wrong and how things can be improved. Here’s his 11-minute video “rant” on the subject. “Sony’s features are at the leading edge of camera technology,” says Heilbron. He accepts that this will lead to complexity in the menus, but he nevertheless remains frustrated at the lack of organization and clarity. With the introduction of the new a7R III, Sony has adjusted the menu. Heilbron hoped that with this new generation of cameras there would be a
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I Said No to TIME’s Request for Free ‘User-Generated Content’

I’ve been a professional photojournalist for 24 years and I’ve seen major changes in my industry. I’ve gone from film to digital. I’ve seen the reduction of staff, the reduction of print pages, and even the complete shut down of newspapers and magazines. And I’ve been at the forefront of the explosion of the World Wide Web and digital content. I’ve also seen a troubling trend where publishing companies ask to use photos or video in exchange for the proverbial “photo credit throughout our platforms.” I recently made a video of clean-up after a mudflow and posted it on
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How My Photo Ended Up in the New York Times Without Credit

The Internet is becoming a hectic and volatile place for photographers to share their work. Social media enables photos to be put in the hands of tens, thousands, and even millions in a matter of minutes. However, one small break in this sharing frenzy can lead to massive loss and frustration for the creators that dedicate themselves to doing their passion well. My story begins with a simple tweet. On the night of Sunday January 7th, 2018, a Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Florida’s Space Coast, and the rocket’s first stage landed back on Cape Canaveral shortly after. I
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Photographers, We Are Better Than That

It was a classic NCAA Championship game. Perennial powerhouse Alabama comes back to tie the game in regulation and then win it in overtime. The game-winning play was a 2nd down, 41-yard heave-ho into the end zone that broke a lot of Georgia fan’s hearts. It was a play that will be etched in their collective memories for a long time. And one image, a screen grab of that play, will also be etched in the memories of a few people… for a totally different reason. The screen grab above has been circulating on the Internet for a while now.
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5 Things We’re Hoping For From Camera Companies in 2018

Designing and manufacturing camera gear ain’t easy, as anyone who has invested in a Kickstarter project can attest. The amount of technology that’s stuffed into gear is astonishing, but that doesn’t mean each product meets the needs of the photographer. So in the spirit of “there’s always room for improvement,” here are a few of our hopes in the new year.

#1. A full-frame mirrorless system from Nikon and Canon

Had it not been for the release of the Nikon D850, 2017 would have been a winner-take-all year for Sony. The introduction of their a9 and a7 RIII convinced many
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Do NOT Fake It Till You Make It as a Photographer

I see the posts. You see them, too. A session gone wrong because a photographer didn’t know want to do. And they didn’t know what to do because they hadn’t yet acquired the skills necessary to do that thing they were hired to do. They said “yes” before they knew what they were doing. I remember one such story. A gal had agreed to photograph a family at a beachfront hotel; a family that hadn’t been together in years. She photographed them on the balcony in the middle of a sunny day. The balcony was in shade. The beach behind
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Photography Never Died

Lately, the photography sphere has been inundated, not with the gazillions of photos everyone is talking about, but with article after article proclaiming that photography is dead/over/irrelevant/trash. The questionable assumption here is that it was ever alive in the first place, but what puzzles me most is how this status has been defined. And it is about status in the end, because the reasons given for photography’s untimely (or exceedingly timely, depending on the source) demise are invariably centered around the rise of social media, short attention spans, instant sharing and, inevitably, cat pictures.
Yes, you.
However, in a world
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For the Love of Film

Just another article about film photography? Well yes, but bear with me and hopefully you’ll see why film really does still have a place in my heart and might have a place in yours too… even when digital is such excellent quality and so convenient. We all know digital is great and has many advantages over film — I’m not disputing that and I’m not abandoning digital. In fact, I’ve now been shooting digital longer than I shot film (17 years digital vs 12 years film), and until the last year or two, I hadn’t shot any film at all
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