Month: August 2013

The rise of Haytham Pictures


At a time when established photo agencies are struggling to keep their heads above water, the decision to create a new one can seem reckless, and Christian Sauvan-Magnet, one of the founders of Haytham Pictures, knows this. “You’ve come to ask why we’re such fools?” he asks, amused, as a greeting. The answer could be “because we’re hopeless romantics, in love with photojournalism”. Before launching Haytham Pictures, Sauvan-Magnet spent years developing and installing image management software for photo agencies. In 2007, he launched his own company, FreeForPress, which allowed corporations to distribute, for a fee, their images to journalists. Yet, Sauvan-Magnet felt he needed to step out from behind the scenes and do more to support photojournalism, especially as the world continued to be deeply affected by the 9/11 attacks, even 10 years later. His first attempt was with an agency called Le Desk, which lasted a year. He then partnered with Gilles Collignon to launch Haytham, named after an Arab scientist who studied optics in the 11th century. Collignon shares his passion for photojournalism, which he …


Stranger than fiction: Should documentary photographers add fiction to reality?

“Journeying through the outskirts of their borough in the hopes of finding the river, the Laundry Sherpas of Brooklyn bear their load and navigate through the built-up landscape, confronting a lack of a natural environment in which to cleanse their daily habits. The Sherpas discard their belongings, rest and recall a bucolic past in an effort to release the weights they carry, but unless they regain the memory of the way to the river, they will have no choice but to abandon their quest in the terrain vague and return to a consumptive society,” says Erica McDonald about her project. [bjp_ad_slot] The Laundry Sherpas of Brooklyn is her first fictive story – a documentary project based on a narrative construct that mixes fact with fiction. Yet McDonald doesn’t see her story as fiction. “I prefer to use the word fictive, in the sense that it doesn’t oppose itself to the facts. In Brooklyn, people carry their laundry to the laundromat fairly regularly,” she explains. “Only a percentage of people have cars, and I’d guess that fewer people have …


The optimist

On his first week as picture editor at The Sunday Times in April 1989, Aidan Sullivan arrived in the offices when reports started to come in that one of the stands at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield was collapsing. In the early hours of that Saturday afternoon, “we didn’t know how bad it was. And then the pictures started to come through via two photographers from the Press Association”, recalls Sullivan. “By the end of the afternoon I had two piles of pictures on my desk as the deadline for the first edition was coming up. On the left were people who were dead, or dying, and on the right were people in distress, but who were not in a life-threatening situation.” [bjp_ad_slot] Sullivan was 28 at the time, having taken on the role of picture editor at the newspaper after working for the Mail on Sunday. “But even at that young age, I knew that since we were dealing with a UK tragedy, if I had chosen to publish a photograph of somebody who …


Photography organisations rally against Instagram’s terms of use

The American Society of Media Photographers has joined forces with the National Press Photographers Association, The Digital Media Licensing Association, American Photographic Artists, This Week in Photography, Professional Photographers of America, Coordination of European Picture Agencies Stock, Press and Heritage, Graphic Artists Guild and American Society of Picture Professionals, to campaign against Instagram’s “far-reaching terms of use”. “The organisations believe that few of the users who share images on the site understand the rights they are giving away,” read a statement issued by the ASMP, which has also published a series of essays and analysis called “The Instagram Papers”. [bjp_ad_slot] “The Terms of Use give Instagram perpetual use of photos and video as well as the nearly unlimited right to license the images to any and all third parties,” the organisations explain. “And, after granting this broad license to Instagram, users also relinquish the right to terminate the agreement. Once uploaded, they cannot remove their work and their identity from Instagram. Additionally, in the event of litigation regarding a photo or video, it is the …


Kodak gets court approval to emerge from bankruptcy protection

The era of Kodak as a leading film manufacturer are now officially over after a US Bankruptcy Court approved the company’s plans to restructure its business to become a commercial imaging market player. Already in April, Kodak had virtually exited the film business when it sold its personalised imaging and document imaging divisions to its own UK Kodak Pension Plan. [bjp_ad_slot] Now, Kodak plans to concentrate its business on commercial printing, packaging, functional printing and professional services – markets, Kodak believes, that are “large and growing,” according to Antonio Perez, the corporation’s chairman and CEO. With the court’s approval, Kodak is now expected to emerge from bankruptcy protection on 03 September. “It will be enormously valuable for the company to get out of Chapter 11 [protection], and begin to regain its position in the pantheon of American business,” the court says in a statement. During its restructuration, Kodak reduced its legacy costs, liabilities and infrastructure, “exiting or spinning off businesses and assets that were no longer core to its future, and focusing on the company’s most …


J. Paul Getty Museum opens up its collections of images

The J. Paul Getty Museum, which collects works of art including paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculptures and photographs, is making its collections of digital images available for all uses without charge, marking a radical shift in its long-standing policy of charging for commercial use of its work. As a result, more than 4600 high-resolution images representing 4,689 objects will be download-able for academic and commercial use without restrictions. The J. Paul Getty Trust, which runs the museum, plans to add other images, until eventually all applicable Getty-owned or public domain images are available, without restrictions, online,” says the museum. [bjp_ad_slot] “The Getty Trust was established 30 years ago on the instructions of our founder to diffuse and disseminate artistic and general knowledge,” Getty’s president and CEO Jim Cuno tells BJP. “That’s the only instructions he gave before his death. We feel one way that we could meet [his wish] was by making available broadly and for no charge images of objects in our collections in the spirit of disseminating them as artistic knowledge. It just seemed the …


Startups battle for rights to smartphone images

On 07 June, when Santa Monica gunman John Zawahri went on a rampage, killing his father and brother before firing on three other people near a college, CrowdMedia – a new website whose task is to filter through images posted on Twitter – was coming online for the first time. “This happened within 15 minutes of our launch,” says CEO Martin Roldan. “We were able to get the licence for the only images shot from inside the college while it was happening. The photographs were picked up by a couple of news organisations, including the Huffington Post. It showed that CrowdMedia worked.” Based in Montreal, CrowdMedia is the latest startup in the battle for people’s pictures, as smartphone devices have transformed us all into potential press photographers, ready to transmit images of newsworthy events as they happen. [bjp_ad_slot] “We built a social media monitoring tool, Ejenio, last year,” says Roldan. “It allowed businesses to monitor what people were saying about them on Twitter and Facebook. While we were working on Ejenio, we realised there were …


Photographer Jonathan Alpeyrie recounts Syrian hostage ordeal

Jonathan Alpeyrie was on his third trip to Syria when, on 29 April, he fell into a trap and was abducted. “I got into a 4×4 with a Katiba officer, my fixer and two soldiers. We came to a checkpoint where masked men pulled me out of the car, forced me to kneel and pretended to execute me,” he tells Michel Puech at Le Journal de la Photographie. [bjp_ad_slot] In his account, Alpeyrie discusses his 81 days of captivity, which he spent, at times, handcuffed to a bed “with five or six soldiers and two Islamists. One day, a young soldier, who looked crazy and made me uneasy, wanted to execute me because I had gone to the bathroom without asking for permission. He put his machine gun against my forehead but the others yelled at him and sent him away,” he explains. While Alpeyrie cannot say much about his release – “the French and American governments prefer it that way,” he tells Le Journal de la Photographie – he says he was freed, thanks to “a Syrian man …


Minority Retouch

Paul Hansen’s World Press Photo winning image is eerie. Depicting a group of people carrying the dead bodies of two-year-old Suhaib Hijazi and her three-year-old brother Muhammad through Gaza city, it has a cinematic feel, with the light bouncing off the heads of the children’s relatives rushing towards the photographer and his audience. “This picture just leapt off the screen for us – repeatedly,” explains Santiago Lyon, the Associated Press’ director of photography and chair of this year’s World Press Photo jury. Without doubt, the image had been toned before it was submitted to the world’s best-known photojournalism competition, but the judges felt it fell within the contest’s rules. [bjp_ad_slot] Not everyone agreed, however. In May – more than three months after the image was plastered across hundreds of newspapers and published in countless magazines around the world – Hansen’s work was called into question, with digital photography experts wrongfully accusing the photographer of faking this year’s World Press Photo winning image. While these accusations were quickly debunked by World Press Photo, the post-processing debate was …


BJP Staff