We came across a good handful of news stories and blog posts that this week were somewhat controversial in nature: there was Flavorwire’s roundup of “Art History’s Most Controversial Photographers”; the marketing agency who turned the homeless into mobile internet hot spots at South by Southwest; and the 7 photographers you shouldn’t hire for your wedding. Let’s dive in!
10 of art history’s most controversial photographers
Cultural news and critique website Flavorwire quoted Norman Mailer: “Giving a camera to Diane Arbus is like putting a live grenade in the hands of a child.” If you’ve seen her work, you might agree. Arbus is just one of the photographers named in Flavorwire’s “10 of art history’s most controversial photographers”. Also included was Irina Ionesco, who photographed her own child in heavily stylized and arguably disturbing poses; Jan Saudek, whose work “explodes” with surrealism, political metaphors, and sexual innuendos; and Steven Meisel, whose fashion shots have taken on themes such as post-9/11 hysteria. Check out the full list – with images – here.
Homeless people as wireless transmitters at SXSW
Marketing agency BBH had the innovative idea to outfit 13 volunteers from a homeless shelter in Austin with mobile Wi-Fi devices, offering Internet access in exchange for donations. Volunteers wore T-shirts with the line: “I’m Clarence, a 4G Hotspot” and were told to head toward the most densely packed areas, The New York Times reports. While participants said that they regarded the project as an employment opportunity, critics focused on the obvious divide between the impoverished volunteers and self-involved Internet community. Needless to say, the backlash had BBH employees scrambling to explain themselves.
7 photographers you shouldn’t hire for your wedding
Chicago Tribune photographer Alex Garcia wrote a steamy news blog post for the Tribune this week on the 7 types of self-proclaimed wedding photographers to avoid when hiring for their big day. “With the smoke and mirrors of technology,” he says, “you might hire someone you really shouldn’t and jeopardize your wedding day album.” Alex quotes the story of his brother, whose wedding photographer claimed to loose almost all his photos in a mysterious lab accident; the remainder of images were out of focus or too far away to use.
His cautionary tale brings up the age-old battle that legitimate wedding photographers (and all photographers for that matter) continue to face: can anyone with a nice camera claim to be a professional?
One type of photographer Alex says to avoid is those who don’t have past work to show. That’s whywedding photographer Chip Litherland suggests actually shooting a handful of weddings for free (cringe!) if you’re seriously looking to make it. “You’ll need to show off work in order to score the clients you want,” he advises. Learn more of Chip’s tips to success in “From Photojournalists to Wedding Photographer: Video with Chip Litherland”.
Could time-lapse photography save the planet from global warming?
National Geographic photographer James Balog had been a skeptic about climate change until about 20 years ago when he started seeing the evidence firsthand in the world’s melting glaciers. In an effort to show the artistic and scientific impact, James founded The Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) in 2007, where he and his team pointed 27 cameras at 18 glaciers around the world. The result was 8,000 frames worth of time-lapse footage per year that showcased changes so slow that they might be rendered inconsequential – until you see it all put together in the film Chasing Ice by Jeff Orlowski.
Orlowski bought the rights to Balog’s EIS project and directed this harrowing film to communicate the science and knowledge that scientists already have about global warming. Photographers will be amazed by the hardware it took to set up camera stations in the world’s harshest environmental conditions, and everyone will take a moment to think about the dire consequences presented by climate.
“My journey into Syria’s nightmare”
Algerian photojournalist Zohra Bensemra for Reuters contributed a blog post titled “My journey into Syria’s nightmare”, where she details her trip into the war-torn and ravaged lands of Assad’s regime. “In Libya, miles divided the warring parties,” she explains. “In Syria, enemies are yards apart.” Zohra and her colleague were constantly approached by locals who wanted to show them the destruction and death apparent on every street corner. They didn’t have to look hard to find bodies, bombed buildings and rockets whizzing overhead. Trying to photograph was a nightmare within a nightmare, as the group tried to figure out who was enemy and who was friend. Read her full story and see the incredible images here.
OPENPhoto: Money, power & sex – an African photographic competition
The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) is launching an African photographic competition around the OpenForum – a conference on African democracy and governance – called OPENPhoto. The OPENPhoto award will recognize photographers based in Africa whose work highlights how inequality plays itself out within the parameters of money, power, and sex. The winner and three runners-up will be exhibited at the OpenForum conference and online. Enter by April 9, 2012.
Warren Winter argues that the camera you use matters not
“All that matters is what you produce, period. Period!” states Warren Winter in his blog post “Pixel Pimp – How Can Millions of Great Pictures Be Wrong?” on The Photo Brigade. His rant comes from a place where photographers spend all day arguing about Nikon vs. Canon, and now whether the iPhone is an acceptable means of capturing photos. But these are just tools, he argues, and if it’s a unique and beautiful image, then we should quit worrying about what camera it came from (he also says that what makes a good photo depends on your definition of what a good photo “is”).
Winter’s so-called rant is a welcomed relief from all the naysayers who spend more time hating on new technologies than actually taking pictures. “…don’t be afraid of change,” he says. Right on.
You can also check out Warren Winter on The Photo Brigade’s Agent on Demand program (AoD) – with 25 years of experience, Winter is now offering his advice in 15-minute blocks of time on everything from negotiating contracts to how to price stock licensing requests.
Bumblejax turns Hipstamatic & Instagram prints into art
Print vendor Bumblejax specializes in creating handmade, gallery quality wall art from your digital photos. Now they’re offering iPhone wall art by printing and mounting your photos to unique materials such as bamboo, acrylic and aluminum. iPhone wall art is available at 7×7″, 12×12″, 18×18″ and 24×24″ depending on the resolution. Says Co-Founder Corey Dwinnell, “Iphoneographers are embracing the product as a higher quality alternative to the canvas option. We are seeing an increase in galleries highlighting this medium and the acrylic product in particular really stands out from the crowd.” Learn more about the process and pricing here.
5 things every new Lightroom user should know
PhotoShelter member, New England nature photographer, and Lightroom veteran Jerry Monkman of EcoPhotography invited fellow PhotoShelter member Bret Edge to guest post on his blog this week. Bret was once a stubborn Photoshop user who worked with Lightroom mainly for RAW converting and some editing work. Now he has shifted 90% of his processing work to Lightroom, and is sharing his 5 top tips for new Lightroom users – including keywording from the start, backing up, and more. Read the full post here.
New York gets ready for AIPAD
Starting March 29th, The Association of International Photography Art Dealers’ Photography Show returns to New York with 75 of the world’s leading galleries presenting their latest in art photography. This year’s show is set to be the biggest yet, with a greater emphasis on female photographers in numerous solo exhibitions at some the city’s top museums. Specially curated exhibitions of work by earlier photographers include Julia Margaret Cameron, Ansel Adams, and Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Randy Santos captures Washington D.C.’s cherry blossom peak season
It only comes once a year – and no, we’re not talking about Christmas. We’re talking about cherry blossom season in Washington D.C., captured in stunning photos by Washington D.C. stock photographer Randy Santos. One of Randy’s cherry blossom photos was featured in the latest issue of Popular Photography magazine, shown below. Also be sure to look at his full cherry blossoms gallery on PhotoShelter.
This tiny feature could keep Pinterest from getting sued
The latest in the Pinterest copyright infringement debate says that because users are required to add a caption before “pinning” photos, Pinterest could argue that having photos on its site is protected under “fair use”. This report comes from Business Insider, saying that captions make commentary required, which is protected and even encouraged under fair use. Still, the jury is still out on whether Pinterest has found a solution to its copyright questions.