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New Standards, and a Talk & Book Signing

Due to the recent controversy over the World Press Photo winning image, I have written a blog post for the picture folk over at the Daily Beast, and have been interviewed for American Photo online by Stan Horaczek. In both cases ideas are put forth on how to better contextualize the photograph and potentially gain more credibility with the reader.

On the occasion of the new book coming out, Bending the Frame, I’ll be doing a talk and a book signing at the Aperture Gallery in NYC at 6:30 in the evening of June 4 if anyone is interested in coming. See the link here.

Measuring Media’s Impact

When people try to change society with their imagery, their impact is often measured in “hits,” “likes” or “page views.” Much of that can be meaningless. Now the Annenberg Center in California is trying to figure out other metrics that might be more helpful. According to Martin Kaplan, the intent is to “provide tools on an ‘open-source’ basis, putting socially minded nonprofit groups on a more equal footing with corporate advertisers, who use sophisticated, but expensive, measurements.” The research project has received $3.25 million in initial financing from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Bending the Frame

While I have been absent from writing this blog over the past year, I have instead written a new book to be released next month by Aperture: Bending the Frame: Photojournalism, Documentary, and the Citizen. The first chapter of the book has just been put online courtesy of the Magnum Foundation.

Bending the Frame is about how to think about creating media in the current political and social environment so as to impact society in positive ways.

More to come!

Red Rain in Tokyo

A very poignant piece in today’s New York Times Lens Blog by Hiroyuki Ito.

Four Scholarships in Photography & Human Rights

The Magnum Foundation announces 4 scholarships for the 2012 NYU/Magnum Foundation Photography and Human Rights Program.

The Magnum Foundation is pleased to announce that 4 scholarships will be available for the 2012 NYU/Magnum Foundation Photography and Human Rights Program.

The scholarship funds cover the 6-week program at the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, housing, travel, and living expenses, as well as additional cultural activities in New York with the opportunity to meet editors, publishers, and visit some of the most prestigious photography museums and galleries.

The four scholarships are open to applicants living and working in, and native to any of the following regions: Latin America, the Caucasus Region, Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, East Asia, South Asia, Africa, or the Middle East.

Support for these scholarships has been generously provided by the Open Society Foundations and Nancy Stephens and Rick Rosenthal of The Rosenthal Family Foundation.

About the Program

The Department of Photography & Imaging at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and the Magnum Foundation present programming in photography and human rights for the third summer, spearheaded again by Professor Fred Ritchin of the Department and Susan Meiselas of the Magnum Foundation.

The scholarship is aimed at intermediate and advanced international students, including experienced professionals. The six-week program is comprised of four courses and is designed to enable students to explore strategies for creating effective documentary projects in pursuit of human rights. Students will propose multimedia or traditional presentation strategies for their photo essays, which they will develop through two studio courses. A lecture course will provide participants with an opportunity to look at photography’s strengths and weaknesses, both real and imagined, in attempting to determine new strategies for its use as both society and technology evolve. The final component is a discussion and writing course correlating with a public guest lecture series featuring speakers from the fields of photojournalism, law, and media. Scholarship fellows will remain in New York for an additional week to meet with local editors, publishers, and other experts in the field and explore museums, galleries, and other cultural resources.

More information about the program, including updates, can be found on the NYU website at

Applicants must be fluent in the English language.

About the Application Process (Applications Accepted November 29th- December 19th)

Materials should include:

1. A Statement of Purpose
(750 words max- pdf format)

2. A description of a human rights related project you would like to pursue
(250 words max- pdf format)

3. A portfolio of 20 photographs by the student
(Labeled: First Name, Last Name, 001, 002, etc) please note: this will involve 2 uploads of 10 pictures each 72 dpi at 900 pixels wide

4. A CV/resume
(Applicant must specify region and include educational background- pdf format).

To start the application process from November 29th - December 19th, go to: *

Applications submitted before November 29th or after December 19th will not be accepted.

*If you already have a photoshelter account, please directly

Applications will be judged by the NYU faculty in collaboration with the Magnum Foundation. Winners will be named at the beginning of January.

For more information, please contact

For more information about the Magnum Foundation, please or contact

New Grant in Tim Hetherington’s Memory

To honor the life and work of the late Tim Hetherington, Human Rights Watch and World Press Photo have established an annual visual journalism award focusing on human rights, Human Rights Watch said today….

“This award is a tribute to Tim Hetherington’s extraordinary talent for bringing human rights stories into vivid focus,” said Carroll Bogert, deputy executive director for external relations at Human Rights Watch. “The best photojournalism changes the world. We hope this grant will help more photographers think of their work in those terms.”

The annual grant of 20,000 euro seeks to reward a career history of documenting critical human rights stories and an ability to draw together diverse elements into a compelling multimedia feature.

Human Rights Watch and World Press Photo have established the grant with the support of Hetherington’s parents, Alistair and Judith.

Human Rights Watch and World Press Photo will join a distinguished panel of judges to select the recipient of the first annual Tim Hetherington Grant in November, with the aim of allowing the winner to complete an existing project on a human rights theme. In reviewing the applications, the judges will look for the revolutionary qualities that defined Hetherington’s career: work that operates on multiple platforms and in a variety of formats; that crosses boundaries between breaking news and longer-term investigation; and that demonstrates a consistent moral commitment to the lives and stories of the photographic subjects….

The deadline for applications is October 15, 2011. More information about the application procedure, including application forms to download, is available at

What Matters Now? Proposals for a New Front Page

Please come to What Matters Now? Proposals for a New Front Page to submit work and discuss ideas for a new front page–a way for us to focus as a society, to use each other’s insights, to decide which issues we should be doing something about. The project begins now online, and next week at the Aperture Gallery in New York.

After, and Before

After the riots: Carpetright Building, High Road, Tottenham

After the riots: Carpetright Building, High Road, Tottenham

Before the riots (Google Streetview): Carpetright Building, High Road Tottenham

Before the riots (Google Streetview): Carpetright Building, High Road, Tottenham

The BBC is utilizing Google Streetviews to give us an instant before-and-after history, demonstrating the physical damage caused by the current London riots on the cityscape. The photograph is no longer seen alone, which makes the results of the rioting all the more visible, sudden, and devastating.

On War

Newsweek magazine recently published Tim Hetherington’s last photos from Libya with a very fine short text by James Welford. He quotes correspondence between Tim and Stephen Mayes: “Photography is great at representing the hardware of the war machine,”  [Hetherington] told his good friend and writer Stephen Mayes, a month before he died. “But the truth is that the war machine is the software, as much as the hardware. The software runs it, and the software is young men. I’m not so young anymore. But I get it. That’s really what my work is about.”

Ads are Banned

From Huffington Post in the United Kingdom, the first signs of resistance to image manipulation in mass media. It may be several decades late, but at least one member of Parliament seems to care:

Two adverts have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority after a complaint from MP Jo Swinson.

Promotions for foundations by Lancome and Maybelline, starring Julia Roberts and supermodel Christy Turlington, were deemed misleading by the watchdog due to extensive airbrushing.

Swinson, who is campaigning against digital re-touching, said the ruling would send a message to advertisers and called for beauty giants to “get back to reality”.

“It shows just how ridiculous things have become when there is such fear over an unairbrushed photo that even the advertising regulator isn’t permitted to see it.

“Excessive airbrushing and digital manipulation techniques have become the norm, but both Christy Turlington and Julia Roberts are naturally beautiful women who don’t need retouching to look great. This ban sends a powerful message to advertisers – let’s get back to reality.”

The Liberal Democrat MP said it was important for adverts to reflect reality to help the self-esteem of everyday women.

“Pictures of flawless skin and super-slim bodies are all around, but they don’t reflect reality. With one in four people feeling depressed about their body, it’s time to consider how these idealised images are distorting our idea of beauty.

“Shockingly, even the ASA weren’t contractually allowed to see the pre-production photo of Julia Roberts.”

Thanks to Ariel for pointing this out.