Thursday, June 28, 2007

Google News

Maybe it is just me, but feel the new manner in which Google News US is presenting news headlines seems a bit off. Something just does not feel right about using an image as thumbnail, clicking and 'pop', up comes the text story. All the tiny images, boxed in their neat rows, with content behind the click, feels very game show like. Google Canada has yet to do this, but I'm sure it will be not long.
I would like to buy a vowel please...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

'Storm Porn'

Over the weekend, the national news coverage showed quite a few compelling videos of the tornadoes that struck Manitoba. A number seemed to be shot my storm chasers, but many were also shot by residents who seemed very close to the tornado.

This story ran on today "This is not about getting the best YouTube video. I really want to put forward that tornado safety comes from recognizing that they appear to move fairly slowly, but they are unpredictable. "It's almost what I've called 'storm porn,' " David Phillips, one of Environment Canada's top weather experts, told CBC News.

Storm Porn?

Not to make light of a serious situation, but did find this video somewhat amusing. The fellow was getting so excited he kept standing in front of the camera.

Non Photography Day: July 17

When travelling or at a concert, do you ever look about and count the number of people with cameras to face? It is a bit scary actually. We are all so busy framing the image in the camera, are we even digesting what we are seeing and experiencing? Digital cameras have made picture-taking so easy, and now almost priceless in the dollar sense.

Well a British photographer Becca Bland feels it is time to slow down and take a day away from the capture devices. In 2006 Becca begun, what she hopes will become a global initiative each July 17, Non Photography Day. If nothing else, have a read of the site, and on July 17 if you choose to take pictures, think about Becca's comments before pressing the shutter.

Monday, June 25, 2007

SICKO Projects onto Buildings

The marketing machine of Michael Moore's SICKO brings a new twist to promotion. Tonight, on buildings throughout the US, including in Times Square, the doc will be projected. The twist being, the buildings are all close to the head offices of major HMOs. Go Michael!!!

View the preview on YouTube. Opens everywhere June 29.

Photo Festival Sites

Today, there is seldom a country that does not offer a major photography festival. Contact just finished in Toronto, and the bi-annual Mois de la Photo will be taking place in Montreal this September.
These sites offer links to some of the larger festivals.
Festival of Light
Photo Festival Union


Spencer Platt, USA, Getty Images

This year World Press Photo shows all the winning images with text on their site. Of course, not the same as viewing live, but it is a nice opportunity to view the images if the exhibition does not come to a city near you.

Canadian dates:
Montreal: August 31 - September 30
Toronto: October 2 - 24 (note, the 07 Toronto exhibit details will begin showing in mid July)

The World Press Photo site also includes video interviews with some of the winning photographers offering interesting insight into their images.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Podcasts & Video Essays (E)

These are a few sites I am always checking for new postings. Not exclusively, but a number of the podcasts and essays showcase documentaries that inform and educate about humanitarian and social issues in our world.
Mixture of podcasts and video essays. All free and easy to view or download.

- Magnum Photos: In Motion Podcasts
- Marcus Bleasdale

Video Essays:
- Magnum Photos: In Motion Essays
- VII Photo Agency: Multimedia

Podcast: Kingsley's Crossing (E)

Last year, the World Press Photo 06 exhibit, Contemporary Issues First Prize story introduced us to Kingsley, a young Cameroonian whose journey we follow as he travels into Europe, as a clandestine immigrant ... looking for his perception of that better life. Olivier Jobard is the photographer.
Only 6 images from Olivier's documentary, Kingley's Crossing were shown, however it was a series that engaged viewers, especially students.
A few weeks after the exhibit came down, I was at the Great White North Workshop and Geo Perdis handed me his video ipod and said to go somewhere quiet and view/listen. It was the full documentary podcast of Kingley's Crossing.
It was my introduction to photo podcasts and I found it to be incredibly moving. Oliver's photographs and Kingsley's own voice and words tell a powerful and engaging story that is not easily forgotten. The story offers a powerful insight into what is experienced around the world by far too many Kingsleys each year.
Kingley's Crossing should be required viewing in every Politics / World Issues classroom in the country.

The podcast is hosted on MediaStorm and may be viewed free. It is about 22 minutes and promise it will be worth your time.

Kingsley is a 23-year-old lifeguard from the West African coastal town of Limbe, Cameroon. Though he longed to be a professional footballer, French soldiers trained him to become a lifeguard, and Kingsley soon found himself working at an upscale hotel giving swimming lessons to visiting Europeans. He earned just 50 euros a month, enough to pay for food and the rented two-room house he shared with his parents and seven siblings.
"Most families in my country want their children to go to Europe," Kingsley says. It is in Europe—the new El Dorado—that African immigrants can vastly increase their incomes while also providing for their families back home. So, in May of 2004, Kingsley left Cameroon on what he calls "his mission." What followed was an excruciating six-month journey across half of Africa.
Kingsley's Crossing is the story of one man's willingness to abandon everything—his family, his country, and his friends—in the hopes of finding a better life abroad. Award-winning French photojournalist Olivier Jobard documents the passage.

James Nachtwey Ted Awards Speech (E)

James Nachtwey is not a big fan of the lecture circuit, so this video of his talk at the March 2007 Ted Awards is definitley worth a listen.

Nick Ut - 'A Far Cry From Vietnam'

You may have read about the Nick Ut images taken of Paris Hilton. Nick is the photojournalist who received a Pulitizer Prize for the Vietnam War image of Kim Phuc. He is no longer shooting conflict, but working in LA for AP and photographed Paris crying in the car as she was being returned to prison.
There was an interesting piece in the New York Daily News (Gossip Section!) about this entitled A Far Cry From Viet Nam. It also includes the referenced images.

Ottawa Photography Festival

Photography festivals seem to be sprouting everywhere these days. In September, the Ottawa Photography Festival will join the circuit.

A Month of Photography

DEADLINE – June 25, 2007
....yes a bit late with the info, but to obtain a submission form, learn more about the event or just be added to the mailing list, contact Fausta:

Friday, June 22, 2007

Some Changes at Indigo

An interesting story in the Financial Post about Canada's favourite chain of book stores :) Heather is creating a "green theme, and going multimedia with an in-store television station, a documentary film and the launch of a social-networking Web site catering to book lovers." Ok, but will they be selling more photo books?
My favourite bookstore in Toronto is Pages opposite Much Music on Queen West. Pages offer an eclectic selection of photo books and magazines....and open late!

Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Documentary Prize

Yet another award for Montreal photojournalist Roger Lemoyne. In May, Roger received the Prix de la Photographie Paris award...see May 8 posting.
Roger and his writing partner Kurt Pitzer received the 2007 Lange-Taylor Prize. Their project After War, will explore questions about the lasting effects of war on ordinary civilians of the former Yugoslavia.
This is the second consecutive year a Canadian photographer has received the award. In 2006 photographer Don Weber and writer Larry Frolick were honoured.

New Photo Festival Slated for 2008

powerHouse Books and VII Photo are pleased to announce the launch of
New York Photo Festival 2008
May 30, 2007, New York—

powerHouse Books and VII Photo are pleased to announce the launch of the New York Photo Festival 2008, featuring the best in contemporary photography. The event will debut next May 2008 in DUMBO, Brooklyn.

Led by its co-chairmen, Frank Evers (VII) and Daniel Power (pH), the festival has partnered with Dumbo developers and philanthropists, Two Trees Management, David & Jane Walentas, and Jed Walentas. The group has already started the process of locking in exhibition spaces, major sponsors, event partners, the advisory board and the festival jury. The festival jury will operate independently and will be made up of the best curatorial talent available within the world of fine art, publishing and photography.

The festival intends to spotlight the best in contemporary photography. Using multiple large-scale venues throughout DUMBO, the festival plans to take over the entire area for four days in May 2008. In addition to photographic exhibitions, there will be several evenings of programming featuring awards, performances, visual presentations, and high-profile speakers. The festival is aimed at the general public and photography aficionados. The New York Photo Festival will pay tribute to the photograph with an annual event that begins in 2008.

This joint commitment to contemporary photography promises to deliver a dynamic, high-quality event in what is arguably the photographic capital of the world. The festival will celebrate both contemporary photography and the raw, indomitable, creative, and inspirational talents of those who produce this work. Photography, one of the most important media of our lives, is surprisingly uncelebrated, particularly in the United States.

VII Photo was named the third most important entity in photography by American Photo (April 2005). It is considered one of the most prestigious photo agencies, and its members are many of the best photojournalists in the world. Formed as a photographic collective just a few days before the tragedy of 9/11, VII has since documented a world in turmoil, and has done so for most of the world’s leading magazines. The creation of the New York Photo Festival is the newest addition to VII’s public education programming, which includes VII seminars, VII workshops and lectures. For more information, please visit

Now located at 37 Main Street in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn, powerHouse Books—the world renowned publisher of cutting-edge and classic art, photography, advertising, and pop culture books—is housed in The powerHouse Arena, a 10,200 square-foot laboratory of creative thought offering a gallery, boutique, performance space, and community center, and selected as one of the 50 most important people and places of the next decade by Wallpaper*.

VII Agency Photojournalist Alexandra Boulat Suffers a Brain Aneurysm

The notice was posted on the PDN site today.
It is always a surprise to learn when a photographer, known for their work in conflict regions, lies in a critical condition not caused by an external injury.
As noted in the PDN story, updates on Alex's condition will be posted on the VII site. There will also be info posted with details as to how to financially support Alex during her illness and hopefully, through to a full recovery.
Those who freelance often live without health benefits, and the stress of an illness or injury can be compounded due to the lack of long term disability benefits. Hearing of an illness like this often causes our own fragile reality to hit home.

Update: PhotoSensitive Cancer Project (E)

The PhotoSensitive Cancer Project is now dedicated to the memory of June Callwood, the wonderful Toronto social activist and humanitarian who passed away from cancer in April.
Toronto Star article