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Photojournalism

With pictures always coming fast and furious and time always an enemy, here's my workflow to editing and moving pictures as fast as possible so that you can get your pictures out and easy in the quickest amount of time and with the least possible amount of stress.


:bulletred: Take series of pix (in this time, already single out the shot you wanted)



:bulletred: Lock the picture and then make an audio note on it (on my camera I have a little microphone button where I can make an audio note like for example "Nice shot, person x, doing x" so that I can remember the moment when I flip back to it. You'll find that this saves A LOT of time when you look back at the picture and wonder who that was and what he or she was doing.

:bulletred: Chimp when I can during breaks in shooting. Chimping is what we call filtering pictures on the go. You basically review and delete on the spot, the pictures you don't need or feel are repetitive. It helps that when you go back to the computer, you don't need to look at hundreds of pictures, but maybe just a hundred. Makes a big difference when you finally hit the computer screen. It also helps motivate you knowing that you don't have to stare at hundreds of pictures while trying to get three.

:bulletred: Transfer all the locked pictures from one card to another (Again this is for my camera which has two CF slots and I can do that.) That way I have all my best shots from earlier already, and I can immediately work on them. I load the rest into the computer while I work on the few pictures from the selects card and pull alternate frames if needed. 


:bulletred: Open pictures in Photo Mechanic, a very powerful tool as it allows me to view the images as efficiently as possible and also allows me to hear back the audio notes with a click of a button. I can also open it up in photoshop through the program and mark pictures and colour code them if I want to go back to them. Photo Mechanic also has the FTP function, so I can put my captions in there and send them to the desk when i'm ready to file.

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 4.38.37 pm by Timothy-Sim

:bulletred: Photoshop is a subsidiary of the above point, open the picture, check for colour corrections, crop if needed and then pull the contrast lightly in to offset the flatness of the image.

SEA Games - Fencing 1 by Timothy-Sim

:bulletred: Caption up the picture with the adequate information and hit send.

That's it! Get great Wi-Fi and plot your routes out to file as soon as you can and you'll be on your way to being the first to file your pictures to the wire ahead of your competition.

Have a question? Ask me! Thank you! 


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Photojournalism Week

Hi folks! We've reached the question and answer part of Photojournalism. We recently asked in in Photo-journalism - Questions for the Experts? for you to share your queries. Thanks to those that reached out to us. I totally understand that the genre isn't as popular as many others, but we'll give it our 100% in answering those who do have questions. Feel free to drop more questions in the comments section of this article and we'll get back to you shortly.

Because tanikel and I are answering them, our answers may differ. But if we happen to have the same answers, then high-five with the extra confirmation! High-five!




How did you get started?

 

Timothy-Sim ~ I've probably already answered this in my introduction interview, but here goes again, with a little more depth and insight.

I first picked up the camera when I was 19, in the final year of my mass communication diploma. That was for the photojournalism module. You need to know two things. Prior to this, I had never used camera before, and my first camera was a film camera. After the module was over in that 6 months, I was hooked. I knew I loved taking pictures. I got myself an entry level camera and I remember getting onto DeviantArt to try all kinds of nonsense. Photomanipulation, HDR, "pretty" flowers"..., you name it, I shot it. When I enlisted shortly in the following months, I had the pristine opportunity to take pictures in the military which naturally exposed me to the world of photojournalism. After I finished my two-year term, I once again had the honour of being hired by Reuters as a picture editor. The rest, we'll say, is history.

tanikel ~ I started out fairly young – my father was a hobbyist photographer and bought my sister and I child polaroid cameras.  When I was 14, I got his old Minolta x700.  It’s a pretty awesome film camera.  I knew everything!  I was an amazing photographer!  …using auto, of course.  

In 2009, I enlisted as a Combat Documentation/Production Specialist (better known as combat camera) because, you know, I was great at photography.  Needless to say, I was wrong and I’ve been learning ever since.  




Would you recommend majoring in journalism and photography to become a photojournalist?



Timothy-Sim ~ I thought a lot about this. I really did. There were many points in my life where I reflected on whether I really needed a degree to do this. But ultimately, my answer is "No".

Photojournalism is based on merit, and not academics. Unlike many other jobs where you can smoke through with a sheet of paper stating your qualifications that you may have forgotten in a time gone by, your clients and bosses in photojournalism judge you for your mettle. And what good does a paper do in feeding you if you can't shoot for nuts?
It DOES pay to know the technicalities of your trade. I would say, unless you know how to work the camera and all its functions and regularly upgrade your skills on the internet and try them often in the field, hit the school and learn the basics at least. But be prepared to pay tons of money and waste tons of years.

tanikel ~ Well…I haven’t received formal education on it, so I’d be a liar if I said yes.  Skills are better than paper.  You can attend workshops and network with professional individuals.  Be prepared to completely immerse yourself in it and make your life centered on photojournalism.  




Would it help if I studied a course first before taking up photojournalism as a side job?



Timothy-Sim ~ This, I would approve of. Taking up short-termed, part-time courses are always recommended. It helps to upgrade your skills, keep you rooted and doesn't waste too much of your time. It even helps you network with others in the courses. Even doctors take short courses in their spare time to keep themselves updated and upgraded with new things in the industry, so why can't we?

tanikel ~ Absolutely!  The two biggest things I recommend people learning for photojournalism are ethics and caption writing.  In addition to increasing your skillset, you’re making connections with others in the field – expanding your network of influence is never wrong!


That's it from us! If you've got more questions, feel free to shoot them our way and we'll be glad to answer them :) (Smile)
Peace!


Mary Ellen Mark - Documenting Lives

Tue May 26, 2015, 1:49 PM



" You can't feel too meek... you have to document. "


Mary Ellen Mark

(March 20, 1940 – May 25, 2015)

***

Mary Ellen Mark, an artist known for her incredible humanist photography, passed away Monday in New York City. A rep confirmed the news Tuesday morning. She was 75.
Her work has regularly appeared in publications such as Vogue, Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone, and has been featured in countless exhibitions across the globe.
In 2014, Mary Ellen received the Lifetime Achievement in Photography Award from George Eastman House.

Read more at:  Philly.com






" I Will Not Be Silenced "

Video Published on Oct 2, 2014

After being brutally gang raped by men in East Kenya, Australian Charlotte Campbell-Stephen's horrific ordeal had just begun. When reporting the rape to the authorities, a detective told her, "No one wins rape cases in this country and that she should leave". This spurred Charlotte to instead stay and fight for justice and bring the perpetrators to account. I Will Not Be Silenced follows Charlotte through the seven-year legal battle that ensues. Through her indomitable strength and sense of outrage about sexual violence and the lack of gender equality in Kenya today, Charlotte becomes an inspiration to women, who stand by her side in her quest for justice against the odds.

***

The Guardian

As Charlotte Campbell-Stephen sat in a Kenyan police station reporting the brutal attack and gang rape she endured over an eight-hour period, the police interview room began to fill with men. It was 2006 and Campbell-Stephen, an Australian aid worker, was giving detective inspector Geoff Kinuya what she described as a “blow-by-blow”account of her ordeal.

Eight hours had been a long time to stare at the violent Nairobi gang as they mocked and raped her, but it had allowed her to memorise and describe to Kinuya her ordeal, and her attackers, in meticulous detail. Like “the man with the big leather jacket”.

“He had just this little thin silver necklace with a cross on it, with diamonds on it, and his chest was sort of hovering above me. And as he was thrusting above me it kept hitting me in the head and I grabbed hold of it at one point and twisted it and said to him: ‘You call yourself a Christian.. And he just started thrusting harder.”

Campbell-Stephen is speaking as the documentary about her ordeal and subsequent fight for justice, I Will Not Be Silenced, launches the 2015 Human Rights Arts and Film festival in Melbourne.


Read full story by Melissa Davey at:


The Guardian

The Guardian



The following contains key excerpts by Nina Berman, photographer and an associate professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, for the Columbia Journalism Review - MARCH 9, 2015

-

There are certain things photojournalists are never supposed to do if they want to remain credible visual communicators. They are worth reviewing to understand the ethical cyclone that struck one of the profession’s most prestigious awards organizations.

:bulletred: Photojournalists should not arrive to take someone’s photograph and start telling them what to do, to pump their fist or hold a sign a certain way. The rules are more flexible when taking a portrait — the idea being that the very essence of portraiture suggests something’s been posed. But for everything else, no posing.
:bulletred:We should not construct a scene and pass it off as a “found” moment. Once we have taken the shot, we should not add or remove objects during post-processing. The editing done in this phase should be about sharpening the image, not fabricating a new one.
:bulletred:We should not lie or mislead in writing captions for our photos.
:bulletred:We should not change the emotional trajectory of a situation by encouraging protagonists to make nice, or toughen up.

These are some of the basics. And then there is the practice.

As a photographer covering presidential politics in the 1990s I watched in astonishment as the most prominent wire service and magazine photographers routinely directed candidates into positions they thought would make the best photographs:

“Stand this way, Governor Clinton, closer to your wife. Put your arm around her.”

“Look this way, Senator Dole. How about a thumbs up!”

One photographer who was known for privileged access stood on a New York City stage and directed campaign staff to refocus the spotlights prior to an event so that the exposures would be more favorable to his frame.

If national picture editors didn’t know this was happening they should have known. We all knew.

Are these manipulations minor aesthetic adjustments or unethical intrusions and for what intent — to clarify a story or create one that mainly exists in the mind of the maker? That’s the crux of the controversy which for the last month has rocked World Press Photo, one of the industry’s most influential and respected organizations.

If you haven’t been following the story, these are the bare bones: On February 12, after reviewing 97,912 images submitted by 5,692 international photographers, the World Press jury announced multiple photo awards, with its top prize, photo of the year going to Danish photographer Mads Nissen for a quiet image of a gay couple in St. Petersburg, Russia. Discussion of the photograph’s merits was drowned out by the parallel announcement that 22 percent of the entries that made it to the final round were disqualified for sloppy or blatant post processing.

Once we saw the evidence, we were shocked.

Nearly all digital files require some post processing — changes in contrast, light, shadow, white balance, and sharpening done to a digital file before it is sent for publication. This work can be done by photographers before they file, picture editors, and in the past darkroom technicians. But it’s going too far when objects are added or removed, or the scene is radically transformed through excessive burning or dodging.

By looking only at the photograph, it can be almost impossible to tell something has been excessively doctored. But the WPP requires that once an image advances to the finals, photographers must submit the raw (unprocessed) files for expert review.

The chatter over post-processing dimmed temporarily when a new photographic ethics controversy tripped onto center stage during the WPP contest. Photojournalists, bloggers, even public officials began scrutinizing the work of Giovanni Troilo, whose color series shows images of public sex, dementia, and fear within the Belgian city of Charleroi. He titled it, “La Ville Noir”—The Dark Heart of Europe.

Critics charged that he staged events. One image shows a couple having sex in a car. The man turned out to be his cousin. Did he ask his cousin to perform? The captions were unclear. Another showed a naked woman in a cage, which the photographer said was not unusual given that the woman and her husband are involved in BDSM. The Mayor of Charleroi chimed in with a letter to World Press saying the entire series was a work of fantasy and a gross misrepresentation of his city.

The critics piled on. And then Jean Francois Leroy, the director of one the largest photojournalism festivals in the world, Visa Pour L’image in Perpignan, France, announced that he was canceling the World Press Photo exhibition this year.

The organization was placed in a difficult position, having to defend their stance against too much post processing while appearing to play fast and loose with one of the most basic tenants of photojournalism: thou shalt not stage images that the viewer assumes to be genuine.

WPP requested more caption information from the photographer, who explained the work this way:

“Some scenes just happened in front of the camera (policemen, clinic, pills and building) and I just found the way to be in the right place, but without any dialog between me and the subjects. In other scenes, like in the cage for example, the presence of the camera was declared, there was obviously a dialog necessary to setting up a proper portrait session. All of the photos were taken with the utmost transparency and correctness. In instances where the subjects are aware that they are being photographed, the original caption says so.”
Last week, WPP revoked Troilo’s prize, but for a different reason. Another photographer came forward to allege that one of Troilo’s pictures was taken in Brussels when the caption claimed it was shot in Charleroi. Miscaptioning is a definite violation of the rules, but it’s also an Al Capone-style solution — if we can’t get him on murder let’s get him for tax evasion.

And so little was resolved.

Is this a case of semantics? Or a clash of two styles of photography trying to exist in a contest that used to show mainly one? Is it an indication that the field is rapidly changing and a new definition is needed for photojournalism and documentary work? Are these the most important questions to ask when dealing with an inherently subjective medium, which aspires to communicate a vision of accepted truth? And whose truth for what purpose?

Before the great media disruption, photographers were sent out on a story for weeks, sometimes months. The purpose was for the photographer to watch. Quietly, patiently, carefully observing subtle changes in mood, emotion, light, shadow, and through framing and positioning, and trusted relationships with subjects, we were to bring back images that reflected an uncompromised, closely seen reality.


Photography is an inherently subjective medium. Calling it photojournalism embeds the image with an expectation of truth. But from the moment I choose where to stand, when to stand there, who comes with me as a guide or censor, where I point my gaze, which lens I use to see, how much light fills the frame, these are all subjective decisions. Is a balanced exposure a politically neutral one? Should I use a flash to turn a gray sky blue? Should I silhouette faces into darkened shapes, and create an image which sails past the forensic file analysts and WPP jurors, but may not be anything like what the human eye sees?


What are your thoughts?
- Best, Timothy

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