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)
A must watch video about the continued distressing events taking place in Syria at the moment. Released by the UK’s Channel 4 television station and shot by a French photojournalist, going by the name of Mani.
Posted February 23rd, 2012 in inspiration by Sean Gallagher
99% of people just walk on by. If you just watch the above video, that’s what you will of seen. Maybe it was more than 99%. Incredible beauty in the everyday was walked passed, ignored, momentarily noticed and then forgotten.
I’ve often felt that about photography, in that, when photographers go out and take images, we are trying to see unique and special moments in the ordinary. But those moment aren’t ordinary. They are quite incredible and often breathtaking. The way the light is falling. The drama of shadows. The excitement of colour. The serendipitous juxtaposition of people in the street as they pass oneanother. The texture and depth of emotion caught between people in the briefest of moments.
These are moments that are are not noticed by 99% of people, even though they are right there infront of them.
For me though, these are the most important things in life to see and recognise. This is why photography is so special.
The music is everywhere. Stop and listen.
Read more about the violinist Joshua Bell and the fascinating experiment in the video here
For regular readers who have stopped by over the past few weeks, I must apologise for the lack of posts recently. The past couple of months were busier than I expected and blogging kept getting pushed back further and further down my list of things ‘to do’. Needless to say, I am back and will endeavor to post as regularly as possible in the new year. This is a new year’s resolution at the top of my list!
First up is an interview that I did for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting recently, talking about my project from last summer on ‘China’s Fragile Forests’, looking at the current threats to China’s Forests. I hope it gives you some insights into my project and how I approached it. Stay tuned for more updates on this project in the new year!
“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.
A photo has been released by NASA this week that should, hopefully, put to bed one of the longest-running conspiracy theories out there – the moon-landing hoax.
The image shows a view from above of the Apollo 11 landing site, clearly showing the tracks of the astronauts and pieces of equipment that are still on the surface of the moon. Click here to see the full high-res version.
In case you didn’t know, there is still a small community out there who doubt one of humanity’s greatest achievements, although I think it’s fair to say that the majority of us are pretty confident it did happen. There is so much historical evidence from the actual event itself, that there is no real reason to doubt it actually occured.
One of the things that the conspiracy theorists often point to is the photography that was taken by the astronauts and some of the ‘flaws’ seen in the resulting images, allegedly ‘proving’ that the landings were faked.
Check out this excellent episode of the Mythbusters, who thoroughly deconstruct and investigate some of the theorist’s most popular claims. You can get some great tips, especially if you plan on photographing on the moon sometime soon…
Oh, and if you run into Buzz Aldrin (second man on the moon), you might not want to suggest to him that the moon landings were hoaxed…
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
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.
March 15-27 saw the holding of the Washington DC Environmental Film Festival in America’s capital. It was a showcase of short films made about environmental issues around the world and I was lucky enough to have been invited to show some of my recent work from China, as part of the presentation given by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
Even though I wasn’t there myself, this was a wonderful opportunity to spread the message about my work on wetlands issues in China and bring this issue to a new audience. The above video is from the beginning of the Pulitzer Center’s presentation, given by Jon Sawyer, the Pulitzer Center’s Director. I’m proud and flattered that they led their presentation with my recent piece on the plight of Dongting Lake, in central China. You can watch the piece by watching the video above.
For more information about the film festival, here is their Missions Statement and outline from their website:
The Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital seeks to further the public’s understanding of environmental issues – and solutions – through the power of film and thought-provoking discussions with environmental experts and filmmakers. The Festival is a platform that fosters environmental awareness and action.
Founded in 1993, the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital has become one of the world’s largest and most influential showcases of environmental film and a major collaborative cultural event in Washington, D.C. Each March the Festival presents a diverse selection of high quality environmental films, including many Washington, D.C., U.S. and world premieres. Documentaries, features, animations and shorts are shown, as well as archival, experimental and children’s films at venues throughout the city. Films are screened at partnering museums, embassies, libraries, universities and local theaters and are attended by large audiences. Selected to provide fresh perspectives on global environmental issues, most Festival films are accompanied by discussions with filmmakers, environmental experts and special guests, including national decision makers and thought leaders, and are free to the public. The Festival’s Web site serves as a global resource for environmental film throughout the year.
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