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Jun 6, 2012
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

You've probably seen the photograph.

A nine-year-old girl running naked down a street in Vietnam after a napalm attack.

But not many people know the relationship that was built between Associated Press photographer Nick Ut and the girl in the photo, Kim Phuc.

For the last four decades, the two have kept in touch and had many reunions. But what Ut didn't know after he drove the little girl to a hospital to save her life is that his famous photograph would take away Phuc's freedom for years to come.

Not often does a photograph bond the photographer and subject for decades and decide the fate of both people's lives.

To read the story of these two amazing individuals, please click here.

*Photo by Nick Ut*

Mar 12, 2012
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Yahoo recently posted old black and white photographs, shot on film, that were altered. The crazy thing about these photos is that they were altered (with some precision) without the digital technology that we have at our dispoal in 2012.

One of my favorites is a photograph of Adolf Hitler. I don't particulary care about it's content but the interesting detail about it is that it was only altered to appease Hitler's ego. He had a falling out with a man named Joseph Goebbels, so he simply had him removed from the photo.I'm sure it was a little more difficult in those days to remove someone from a photo without the help of Adobe Photoshop.

Now photographers are getting in trouble for altering photos digitally because they are doing so to make their photo better in some way. Most of the time this is done to photos in post-production that were shot during a war or covering a timely event - where the photographer has no second chance to reshoot the photo and make it right. Many photographers have been suspended or fired for committing this ethical violation while some are just "frowned upon" in the photojournalism community.

One of the more famous incidents was when Los Angeles Times photographer Brian Walski altered a photo he shot outside Basra of a British soldier directing Iraqi civilians to take cover. He merged elements of two different photos to create what he thought was a superior photo. And it cost his his job and his reputation. Most newspapers have strict rules about these kinds of violations.

The first two photos below are the originals and the bottom photo is the composite Brian Walski made.

Mar 7, 2012
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Pet Photographer Seth Casteel was already quite the talented freelance photographer before he started posting pictures of dogs he photographed underwater.

But now he has at least 1,000 new clients wanting him to photograph their special furry friend. He has been written about in several major newspapers, appeared on national television shows and publishing companies want to get their hands on his new book featuring the underwater photography.

It's amazing how one great, fun idea can change your career.

I sat for at least an hour looking through Seth's website. He has a gift. Whether he's on land or in a pool, he captures these pets in such a way that is unique and most of the time, hilarious. I sometimes photograph client's pets but mostly I shoot my own Brittany Spaniel, Lucia. She's an active little hunter and I know how long it takes to get the right moment, light and composition--all without getting slobber on your lens.

Well done Seth! I look forward to seeing where your career takes you!

To check out Seth's photos, please visit his website. And if you have a soft heart for animals too, please donate to his charity, Second Chance Photos

*All photos copyright Seth Casteel, Little Friends Photo.*

Feb 24, 2012
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica
Ten years ago, I was proud of a portrait I shot of William Joyce, an eccentric Shreveport, Louisiana native with an incredibly creative mind. Today, I’m proud to say he and his company, Moonbot Studios, are nominated for an Academy Award for the animated short film The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. This is Moonbot’s first Oscar nomination, although Joyce already has three Emmys on his shelf for his series Rolie Polie Olie. As people fill out their own Academy Award ballot online to follow along with the Oscars tonight, I thought I’d share a little insight I have the privilege to share from my time in newspaper photography.


I knew children’s author William Joyce was a little strange (and quite interesting) the moment I walked into his office at Centenary College in Shreveport nearly a decade ago.

Each brightly colored wall had a strange shape. To say the lighting was cool is an understatement. And bizarre chairs scattered around the rooms allowed the artistic juices to flow whenever and wherever possible.

My employer, The Times, assigned me to photograph Joyce for a feature story. He’s quite the celebrity in Shreveport and soon, everyone will know his name. Normally, when photojournalists are sent out on portrait assignments for a newspaper, they will shoot a “standard” portrait that every editor will approve for publication. Nice light. Simple composition. Done.

Then, we shoot what we want. Something just for us. It may never see the light of day but who cares? It’s what keeps us going when the not-so-fun photo assignments come rolling through the department.

And when someone like me has the pleasure of photographing a creative mind like William Joyce, you have to push the limits a little bit. You know artists won’t ask you “why” when you suggest they do something strange for the photograph. When I saw the beautifully colored walls of his office and how each strange shape led to another, I asked Joyce to stand between the walls. I was trying to create some layers in my photograph and add content to show the reader his unique office. Joyce ended up kneeling behind one wall so that all I could see was shapes, colors and his head (including his signature big box glasses).

So when you are filling out your Oscar ballot online, consider how a creative mind from Shreveport, Louisiana made his way into the minds of kids all over the country. William Joyce deserves recognition for his lifetime of hard work and creative spirit.

(Photo by Jessica Leigh/The Times)

Jul 28, 2011
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

The Obama White House is the first to use the photo website Flickr as a way to distribute pictures to news organizations and the public.

The problem that is created by using the popular photo website occurs when news photographers are excluded from meetings and events because an official White House photographer is there to shoot the photo (and distribute it via Flickr), keeping in mind the White House's image is number one priority. News photographers are essential in providing unbiased images from current events because the goal is to document a political event with no agenda.

For example, if there was an abortion rally with people for and against the controversial topic, it would only be fair to have someone document the event without giving preferential treatment to one side or the other. If someone from an abortion clinic or a pro-life organization was documenting the event, it would be almost impossible for them to provide an unbiased account of what happened.

So, when photographers that work for the White House are the only ones that get to document an event, it keeps the White House in control of what images get out to the press and to the public.

This controversy was reignited when Navy SEALs raided Osama Bin Laden’s compound in May and the most iconic image from the mission was taken by a White House staff photographer. The photo is of President Obama and his cabinet in the White House Situation Room watching the raid unfold via live video.

There’s obviously a need for White House staff photographers but I think news photographers are just asking for the same access so they can do their jobs well. Is that too much to ask?

*Photo by Pete Souza, The White House

Jul 27, 2011
Category:General In the News 
Posted by: Jessica

Lytro will unleash it's new light field camera this year that takes the guess work and technical decisions out of the photographer's hands. After taking a photo, the user can refocus the image to a different point in the photo. Like the photo above, in the first one the cat in the foreground is in focus and in the second, the small cat in the background is in focus.

Same photo, different focus.

To read more about the science behind the camera and information about how to reserve one, click here.

Jun 23, 2011
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Kia has released an advertisment for their vehicles with dual climate control that is meant to shock but I'm not sure they realized the underlying stench of pedophilia suggestions in the ad.

The ad shows a teacher flirting with an adolescent student and one one side she looks her age. On the other side she is a busty, beautiful teenager in a school girl outfit.

I'm not terribly offended by the ad. What's confusing is that Kia took a heavy risk with an ad that doesn't really explain the benefits of the vehicle very well.

What do you think, parents? Would you boycott Kia because of this one ad?

Jun 17, 2011
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

The movie, Rock of Ages, is causing quite a stir in south Florida.

Traditionally, if a movie is being shot in a public place and the general public is still allowed to walk through the area (an open set), then photographers are also free to shoot movie stars that descend upon their town.

Not so in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Police and city officials have banned photographers from taking photos of the movie stars but they say the public is welcome to walk the area and frequent the local businesses.

If you tell a photographer they can't shoot something, you better have a reason why. And because the city of Fort Lauderdale does not, photographers along with the Society of Professional Journalists, are staging a "lunch-in" today. Local shooters will buy lunch at a restaurant in the area while shooting photos of stars that might be in the area.

Norm Kent, publisher of the South Florida Gay News, filed a lawsuit (with SPJ) against the city, seeking an emergency injunction against the city's illegal action.

I applaud the efforts of my fellow shooters in south Florida to fight for the right to do their jobs.

When I was working for newspapers, I was never one to lead a rally or push back against the police to the point of an arrest, but it always angered me that those in power feel they can make up rules to suit their own needs. I always obeyed authorities if they told me to step back, stop shooting or leave the scene. But I always asked "Why?". Most of the time, they didn't have an answer.

They were probably thinking the same thing I was..."I'm just trying to do my job."

Jun 17, 2011
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Olympian photojournalist Tony Overman knows all too well how dangerous his job can be.

While covering an "anti-police brutality" rally in 2010, a participant spray painted his face and camera lens. This anger stems from incidents when police used photographs from The Olympian to identify anarchists who committed crimes at rallies and protests. The police were only allowed access to those photos published in the newspaper and online, the same ones that the general public view.

More recently, vandals painted "Overman Snitch" on the Olympian's building and tagged a company vehicle, Overman's truck and his home. Overman believes the vandals are trying to intimidate him so he won't cover certain stories.

A rally was held last weekend to show support for Overman. "The reason why it's so disturbing to me is that you'd think that in a free country, the people who use the First Amendment to express their right to free speech would also respect the First Amendment right of the free press," Overman told The Olympian.

What's ironic to me is that the anarchists in question are upset because someone is documenting them participating in criminal activity. Well, there's a simple solution to that: stop breaking the law.

For more info, click here.

*Photo by Cliff DesPeaux*

Apr 28, 2011
Category:Behind the Scenes In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Being a wedding photographer can be stressful.

A bride and groom’s wedding day is one of the most important days of their lives. They want it all documented, from start to finish, with no moment missed and no flaws.

It’s a ton of pressure to put on one photographer because if you screw it up, there is NO reshoot. There is NO second chance.

I can’t imagine how photographer Hugo Burnand is feeling right now.

In about 12 hours Burnand will be responsible for photographing the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, otherwise known as the “wedding of the century.”

No pressure whatsoever.

For William and Kate, I’m sure the process of choosing a wedding photographer for such an elaborate and publicized event was difficult. But I do not envy Burnand for the task that lies ahead. If he makes any mistakes, he has to answer to the Queen of England!

Burnand has his job cut out for him Friday—it’s a long day for any wedding photographer to shoot a full service and ceremony but for this, it may actually take him all day.

Photographer Mario Testino shot the engagement photos shown here that spread on the internet like wildfire. The whole world is watching and everyone wants to see the most up to date photos of the royal couple.

I’m interested to see how quickly Burnand’s photos make it online tomorrow.

And wedding photography is just ONE facet of this enormous event about to unfold—there are also chefs, cake designers, florists, musicians, printers, program designers and a slew of other vendors like most weddings.

But this one has a slightly bigger budget.

*Photos by Mario Testino*

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