Wednesday, September 10, 2008

MIchael Robinson Chavez: Dharavi Multi Media

I met Michael Robinson Chavez at the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Mexico City. Not only is he wonderful photojournalist, but he's an easily approachable and open person. 

Take note of the techniques Ed Kashi pioneered in his multi-media story on Iraqi Kurdistan on MediaStorm. In some of the rapid fire sequences the framing doesn't change at all, so Michael was working with this technique in mind and set the camera on a tripod or a stable spot while repeatedly firing. In the sequence on the train, however, he shot hand holding the camera which gives a different effect, so this is something to consider when prepping for multi-media.

For some reason I could not upload the video, but you can find the link here.

Monday, August 11, 2008

More Consolidation

PDN Pulse reported today more editorial staff cuts at the Chicago Tribune, 80 people have been given buyouts/layoffs, including two photojournalists and two photo editors. This trend, I imagine will continue and the only way photographers will be able to survive is by adapting, but how do we adapt? 

Recently I had an exchange with Magnum legend, David Alan Harvey on his blog, Road Trip. I had asked David to help me with an edit on a story I have been working on that was up for projection at a major magazine. He provided a healthy dose of honest feedback, but more importantly he touched upon an interesting and related topic

Here's what he said: 

"i worry about photographers that are trying the rather "tried and true" classic picture story at a time when i think these kinds of stories are barely marketable even to the the magazine editors.  times have changed...tastes have survive now i think young emerging photographers need to think either very conceptually, or if "straight photojournalism" is your goal, then go with an audio/video combo as does MediaStorm or VII slide shows or Magnum in Motion...i hate to be the "spoiler" on this forum...not a fun job...i just have to tell you the way it is based so much work i see coming in from everywhere..."

So is what Harvey is getting at true? Is it the end of the 'tried and true" photo reportage? Is conceptual photography the new paradigm?  Or is it simply a change of fashion that will come and go?  

Martin Parr, also of Magnum fame, seems to be in agreement with Harvey. In an article published in PDN online, he states:

"A lot of times photographers don't have enough imagination in terms of what subject matter is going to appeal to editors. A good idea and good story, well executed, is going to have a much better chance than a tired old story. Most photographers don't really think about what they're shooting. There are certain expectations about what photographers should shoot, and they stick to that.

You have to be more ingenious, you have to think carefully about the appeal that your subject will have and how it will fit into a modern magazine that's going to shy away from a more traditional humanistic approach. How to make it look interesting, and entertaining, and at the same time have a level of poignancy and zeitgeist: I can't tell people how to do it, can I? In the end, it comes down to the personality and individuality of the photographer to express that."

The other alternative, according to Harvey, is the multimedia route, but I still have my reservations, especially as it relates to fees. I've spoken with representatives of my agency, WpN, and they say that fees are not proving to be worthwhile on multimedia, for now. 

In an email exchange with Brian Storm of MediaStorm, Storm said that "the fees are all over the board. You don't create multimedia for the money, you make your money on print, syndication, a little on multimedia, but it all fits together." Doesn't sound convincing to me, but then again, we are in the very first stages of a paradigm shift and pricing may go up. 

Time will tell. In the meantime this topic is to be continued...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

More Shameless Self Promotion

This morning the Spanish web site, which translates "What do you know about..." published an interview with me in Spanish.

The State of Photojournalism

There's a well-written story on the state of photojournalism written by Alissa Quart in the July/August edition of the Columbia Journalism Review. It's entitled "Flickering Out - What will become of photojournalism in an age of bytes and amateurs."

Monday, July 7, 2008

Back Online and Two Award Announcements

After an extended stay offline as I travelled to Charlottesville, Virgina to attend the Festival of the Photograph and then to Mexico City to participate in the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop, I finally made it back to Barcelona in one piece. 

I also returned to some exciting news as I was informed that I had been included in the FOTO8 Award and Summer Show to be held at the Host Gallery in London on July 22nd. A day later I was notified that I came in second place at the PX3 in the non-professional photojournalism category for my story on the daily lives of African immigrants in Barcelona entitled 'Living in the Shadows.'

Both Look3 (Festival of the Photograph) and Foundry were great experiences and I highly recommend them to anyone who might be interested.  At Look3 I attended a project criticism class with Mary Anne Golon (formerly of Time) and Maggie Steber. They were both positive, helpful and master editors. You really should have seen them work, editing stories down in 2-3 minutes. And they were not the only stars. The class was chock full of fantastic photographers, many not well known but definitely worth tracking. My favorites were Oscar Hidalgo, Steven Voss, and underwater specialist Thomas Peschak

From DC I flew to Mexico City where I spent a week with many other aspiring photojournalists. It too was a fantastic experience with class time, portfolio reviews, evening slideshows and of course some hard work. Here, Guy Calaf, was my inspiration as he is a veteran at the ripe old age of 30. The class was small, which was ideal and Guy was really generous and honest about the state of photojournalism, so it was an encouraging experience. On top of that he's a really down to earth person who leaves the ego at home.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Convergence Convergence Convergence

Another big announcement today! Yes the mother ship, National Geographic, has entered the assignment business with the announcement of a new business National Geographic Assignment. Under the helm of Alice Keating, a NG veteran, they will begin be representing 27 photographers covering all facets of assignment photography, even fashion.

Back in the fall, World Picture News, announced that they were changing their business model to focus exclusively on assignment work, so it looks to be more than a trend.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


After emailing and calling, calling and emailing, and being close a few times with publication, I finally got my immigrant story on the life of Sub-Saharan Africans in Spain published on the BBC web site. If you'd like to take a look here it is.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Stories Behind the Stories

World Press Photo just announced a new section of their site with interviews with some of the winners from 2007 and 2008. 

Dispatches Magazine Debut

The long awaited debut of Dispatches Magazine finally happened today. VII founder, Gary Knight, is behind the magazine that hopes to break the mold of photojournalism oriented media.  Just read the mission statement as it's a criticism of the current news media an argument for more independent news.  I wish them all the success.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Real Inspiration

Check out this YouTube clip on the work of Philip Blekinsop. It's truly inspiring!

Ron Haviv Interview on Charlie Rose

I came across this video the other day trolling around some other photography blogs. It's a great interview with Ron Haviv on Charlie Rose back in February 2001. Here he tells the stories behind some of his most iconic photos from conflicts he witnessed in Panama and the Balkans.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bombay Flying Club

I just came across this link today as I was reading one of my favorite blogs, The Travel Photographer. I don't know much about the group, but I will say that I like the site put together by the Bombay Flying Club. It looks something like MediaStorm, which has quickly become THE site for multi-media content.  I especially enjoyed the piece on Romanian families living in the sewers of Bucharest.

As I have mentioned before, I really think that this is the future of photography. As radio, television and print media continue to converge, I think we will one day go to NPR, National Public Radio in the U.S., or the New York Times Channel to watch short photojournalism oriented documentaries on demand. It makes perfect sense.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

More Good News

After spending ten days in the Sahara desert without my cellular phone, email or any other outside world contact, I arrived on Monday night to some good news. I won a scholarship to the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Mexico City in June. 

I found out I was a finalist before I left for Libya, but the best part was to find that VII photographer Ron Haviv chose the scholarship winners is a incredible honor.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


Yes, sad it is, but I won my first major photography competition, Travel Photographer of the Year, and everyone likes a little recognition.

Here's an article from the Times online and the photos at TPOTY.