I came across this video over the weekend which I felt compelled to share here on my blog. It’s a panel discussion with the great Sebastiao Salgado, whose work I greatly admire. Salgado has taken documentary photography to another level, pushing the role of photographer beyond being merely a witness and into an agent for change. The above video is nearly an hour and a half in length but it is well worth the time to sit down and take in some of the great discussion.
“What I want is the world to remember the problems and the people I photograph. What I want is to create a discussion about what is happening around the world and to provoke some debate with these pictures. Nothing more than this. I don’t want people to look at them and appreciate the light and the palate of tones. I want them to look inside and see what the pictures represent, and the kind of people I photograph.” – Sebastiao Salgado (from PhotoQuotes.com)
It was a very sad day for the environmental movement yesterday, learning that Wangari Maathai had passed after losing her battle with cancer at the age of 71. This inspiring lady who was a Nobel Laureate and founder of the Green Belt Movement, was one of the leading world figures in raising awareness about environmental issues.
The above video is a perfect message for all of us who try to figure out what we can do, as individuals, to contribute to protecting our planet. Please spread the word…
“24 Events…24 Time Zones…24 Hours of Reality Droughts, floods, heat waves, insect outbreaks, wildfires, sea level rise – we are encountering the reality of our changing climate every day. Five years after the theatrical release of An Inconvenient Truth, Nobel Laureate and former Vice President Al Gore will host an international event that brings the world together in a critical moment of global consciousness to deliver the message: The climate crisis is real, and it’s already happening.”
Whichever time zone you are in, please tune in to this 24-hour broadcast and listen to the incredibly important lectures outlining the impacts of climate change on our world.
Get the evidence. Accept the reality of our changing climate. Take action.
Spotted this interesting little video on CNN that I thought readers here would be interested in, titled “What film photography still has to offer”.
I started out shooting film, although most of my practice now as a professional photographer has switched to digital. I miss it sometimes. I miss the feelings of anticipation you get before you get an exposed roll back from the lab. I miss using a loupe and lightbox and the feeling of discovering those one or two images on a roll that work and make it all worthwhile.
When I first started out trying to learn about photography, I decided to build my own darkroom. I searched for an enlarger in the local newspaper classifieds and set up all the equipment I needed, using books borrowed from the library as my guide. Over the following days, weeks and months I lost myself in the red-lit world of the darkroom and fell in love with photography. Now I shoot predominantly colour using digital but I think the best thing I ever did, to really understand the mechanics of photography, was when I built that darkroom. I can’t reccomend this highly enough to anyone starting out in photography.
I’ll finish this brief post with a quote from the above video which I think is also quite pertinent too for those aspiring photographers out there.
“One essential quality of photographers, is curiosity. If you’re not a curious person, you’re certainly not going to be a good photographer.” – Elliott Erwitt
Followers of my blog will know that since last summer, I have been working on a project photographing and creating multimedia reports about the state of China’s wetlands, sponsored by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
The above video is the third in a series of seven that I am producing. Four and five are already complete, with six and seven coming very soon, however, I am working with a well known organisation to launch these as one package in the coming months. Much more on this soon…
I hope you enjoy the above video which highlights the plight of Dongting Lake, one of China’s most vital water systems. To view the first two installments of these videos, please head to my Vimeo channel here.
Regular readers here and followers of my work will know that the main focus of my photography is on environmental issues. In recent years, notably on access and availability of water in Asia, specifically China. I came across this short video on the National Geographic website that I wanted to share here with you. It tackles the question, “Why Care about Water?”
“If you took all the water in the world and put it into a gallon jug, less than one teaspoon of it would be available to us.” – Alexandra Cousteau – National Geographic Emerging Explorer
We have precious little usable freshwater to play with in the world. With our global population skyrocketing and demand for water increasing everyday, access and availability to water is going to be one of the most crucial factors determining how our future develops.
I’ve been debating with myself over the past week whether or not to write a post on the subject of the loss of Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros. I did not known these men personally. I coincidentally know many of their friends very well but I had never been lucky enough to meet them myself. I knew of Tim due to his reputation within photojournalism but I am afriad I was not familiar with the work of Chris Hondros before the tragic events in Libya on 20th April. I was deeply saddened in knowing the world of photojournalism had lost these two men. Having seen many of the heartfelt dedications coming out to these men from close friends and colleagues, I felt it was inappropriate for me to comment since I did not know them.
I felt I needed to write this post today however, as last night I finally had the opportunity to watch two pieces of work by Tim Hetherington that I felt compelled to share here. The first, is the movie Restrepo, made by Hetherington and his co-director, Sebastian Junger. Set in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan, the movie focuses on the lives of one platoon whom the filmamkers followed for a year, documenting their engagements and experiences dealing with war. To say it’s a powerful film is an complete understatement. It’s one of the most powerful movies about war I have ever seen.
The second piece of work that I felt compelled to share was ‘Sleeping Soldiers’, a conceptual piece by Hetherington focusing on images he has taken, literally of sleeping soldiers, overlayed with video footage of combat situations in Afghanistan. The resulting piece of work is what I believe is a pardigm-shift in storytelling from a photojournalism perspective. It’s hard not to be engaged and at the same time disturbed when watching this short piece. I felt like I was being thrust into the traumatic and turbulent dreams that men who suffer war must endure. I have never seen work like this before presented in such a way.
So, as a small dedication to these men I can only offer links to their work and spread the messages that they were trying to communicate to the world. This is what we as photographers and storytellers all try to do. Spread the word. Tell untold stories. Illuminate darker places. Work for some kind of change for the good. These two men were at the forefront of our industry trying to do that.
Link to Chris Hondros’s Website | Parting Glance: Colleagues and Friends Remember Chris Hondros – New York Times
For a complete list of links to dedications and tributes to Hetherington, Hondros and their work, please visit Photojournalism Links and DVA Foto
As the models of journalism have changes in the past year or two, more and more independent journalists are going online to crowd-fund their stories. A number of sites have sprung up giving you, the reader/viewer, the chance to help contribute and actively fund investigative reporting. It’s proving a successful model for some with many projects getting fully-funded and contributing to an excting new way that you can become part of the reporting process.
I was browsing one of these sites, Kickstarter, when I came across a story by a China-based journalist called Jocelyn Ford. She has a really interesting new project that she is seeking funding for which I thought I would try to help spread the word about here on the blog.
Tibet holds an almost mythic place in the minds of everyone, but what are the real stories taking place there? What are the stories beyond our stereotypes? Jocelyn is trying to show you one. Take a look.
Saturday 26th March 2011 marks this year’s ‘Earth Hour’, a global event aimed at raising awareness across borders about the effect we have on our climate and inspire action to manage humanities impact on climate change.
According to Earth Hour’s website: “On Saturday 27 March, Earth Hour 2010 became the biggest Earth Hour ever. A record 128 countries and territories joined the global display of climate action. Iconic buildings and landmarks from Asia Pacific to Europe and Africa to the Americas switched off. People across the world from all walks of life turned off their lights and came together in celebration and contemplation of the one thing we all have in common – our planet.”
China has embraced Earth Hour with gusto with advertisements popping up everywhere in Beijing recently promoting the cause. Last year I headed out the the Bird’s Nest, Beijing’s centerpiece for the 2008 Olympic Games, to capture Earth Hour using timelapse video. The resulting piece shows the crowds who were there to witness the turning off of the lights at this magnificent stadium. In real-time, the change wasn’t quite so dramatic but speeded up to one minute, makes for more interesting viewing.