Photography

Violence, Agency, Photojournalism and Activism

Violence, Agency, Photojournalism and Activism

TW/CN: This post contains several famous graphic images. As someone who works in multiple media to mobilize people around causes, I’ve had a lot to think about this year. The entire Black Lives Matter movement has been a case study in average people mobilizing the masses in order to force traditional media coverage, as well as how to use a loosely-tied grassroots network to subvert and exploit media coverage in service to a cause. Most recently, though, the photo of two dead toddlers whose bodies washed up on the beach in Bodrum, Turkey, has got the wheels turning. As a photographer, one of the questions I often grapple with is those situations where I find myself wondering, do I take the picture? Of course, the photographer in me answers: take the picture, you can always decide what to do about it later. But the advocate in me wonders about the harm that can be done just in the act of photographing. There’s also the idea that once an image exists, it could be seen by someone else like an editor who would take the decision about what to do with it out of my hands. Images like the ones of the boy on the beach in Bodrum always seem to simultaneously be completely necessary and yet eat away at the photographers who take them. In this case, Nilufer Demir, the photographer who took the image said, “I wished there was no problem in their country, that they hadn’t left it and hadn’t tried to leave Turkey and that I hadn’t taken this photograph. But as I found them dead,... read more
Boston Marathon Tributes

Boston Marathon Tributes

I was hoping to post something on Wednesday with my thoughts on the marathon a year out, but Tuesday night’s events left me exhausted in more ways than one.  I’m glad no one got hurt and that there was no actual potential for violence, and I hope he finds the help that he needs.  I also hope his family gets some privacy and the support that they surely need as well.  There’s a lot out there on the marathon, some better than others.  Here’s a round-up of some of my favorite marathon-related things hanging around the internet. Jeff Bauman, seen by many as the face (along with Carlos Arredondo, he of the cowboy hat) of the Boston Marathon survivors wrote a great piece at the Guardian explaining how he feels about the famous wheelchair photo, and how he hopes we’ll view it.  I think it’s incredibly powerful for him to take charge of his own narrative and of this devastating thing that was inflicted upon him.  It’s also fascinating from the standpoint of photography and journalism to think about whether taking this photo was a good idea, and to hear Jeff’s thoughts about the image and the man responsible.  If you didn’t see the coverage at the time, you’ll also note that most people who weren’t on twitter at the time or actively seeking it out haven’t seen the complete image, in a self-imposed censorship similar to the images of people jumping from the twin towers.  The images are seen as too much, and too damaging a way for  a loved one to get bad news (as Jeff’s parents... read more
Make Your Own Luck

Make Your Own Luck

In photography, people often dismiss great shots by attributing them to luck or other outside factors. That person just happened to be there at the right time, they have nicer equipment, that shot is easier because the subject itself is so interesting, colorful or rare.  But as Andrea, one of my favorite photography professors, reminds me, photographers make their own luck. Yes, that may be a lucky shot, but you’re not seeing all the other shots that didn’t work out.  You don’t see how many hours they waited in that location for something good to happen in that frame, how much research they did to find the right location, or how much time they invested getting their subjects to trust them and feel comfortable.   You’re also not seeing how much time they spend practicing being creative and getting to know their own equipment, so when the time comes they can see something more interesting than what everyone else is seeing, and capture the image quickly. During my two summers in Cuba as a TA to Northeastern University’s photography program, the students with the best collection of images were the ones who created their own luck. They went back to the same locations over and over again, getting to know people and becoming an accepted presence in their midst as opposed to an intruder existing outside the action. They learned the necessary background information to find the potential for great shots, and learned when the variables could possibly line up.  Eventually, this hard work paid off with gorgeous, insightful, authentic views of their subjects in their own environs. Like a... read more
Gear I Love: Mobi Cards by Eye-Fi

Gear I Love: Mobi Cards by Eye-Fi

I received no sponsorship or compensation of any kind for this post, and the views contained are completely my own.  So often when I’m shooting an event (particularly when there’s a photo booth), attendees ask me if/when the images will be on Facebook. They want to know if I can upload them immediately and directly from my dSLR, and if not, they sheepishly ask if I mind re-shooting the portrait on their phone. I usually tell them not to worry, I’m not too high and mighty for a phone camera, and laugh it off apologetically when they ask if my Canon gets wi-fi.  That is, until today. This Christmas I received my favorite type of present: one that is both completely perfect for me and a complete surprise. Michelle, my future sister-in-law and fellow jet-setting photographer on the fly, gave me a Eyefi Mobi 16GB memory card. The card uses its own wi-fi to transmit photos from your camera (anything from a point and shoot to a full-frame, professional dSLR) to your phone, e-reader, or tablet. Using the free app, the photos can be selected, rotated, and posted to the social media of your choosing, including instagram, Facebook, WordPress, and twitter, or simply texted or emailed to a friend.  The card is a punchy orange, which ensures I won’t take a boring old regular memory card by mistake, and it comes with an activation key on the card’s cover that ensures your photos end up on your device. You can add up to 20 different Mobi cards to your Eye-fi, and opt for push notifications that will announce the... read more

Foto Friday: Calle 13

Remember Foto Friday?  Me neither. Let’s see if we can work on that. You’ve already heard about the blemish on my time at the Calle Trece concert, so how about the rest of it?  I think the pictures will do it more justice than my words. Like this:Like... read more

La Residencia

I’ve never really gone into some of the basic, background stuff, so I’m going to try filling in the gaps.  Like this big one: whereon earth do I live?  I know you’ve heard me sing the praises of the Real World House and complain about how overcrowded it is, but here, for the first time, is your personal photo tour. Like this:Like... read more

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