Author: Olivier Laurent

Kidnapped journalists back in France as free men

Photographer Edouard Elias and Europe 1 correspondent Didier François were travelling to Aleppo, Syria, on 06 June 2013 when they were abducted by four armed men at a checkpoint. Nicolas Hénin of Le Point magazine, and freelance photographer Pierre Torres disappeared on 22 June in Raqqa, falling into the clutches of the rebel group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Their ordeal came to an end yesterday when they were released and brought to Syria’s Turkish border as free men – crossing into freedom their heads held high, their hands in their pockets, according to one of the hostages who spoke to France 24 last night. Today, the four journalists were reunited with their families as they landed in Paris. “It’s a day of great happiness for them,  for their families, for their friends, for their loved ones, and for France,” said French president François Hollande on the tarmac at Villacoublay, a French military airport south of Paris. The four hostages spent 10 months in complete darkness, at times chained to each other, with …


Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award launched

Created with a $1m endowment gift from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award “will be given annually to a woman photojournalist whose work follows in the footsteps of Anja Niedringhaus,” says the International Women’s Media Foundation. [bjp_ad_slot] Niedringhaus was a recipient of the IWMF Courage in Journalism Award in 2005 for her life spent documenting wars and the effects of conflict on people in war-torn regions. “I could have stayed out of trouble most of my life but always have been drawn to the people who suffer in difficult situations,” she told the audience at the 2005 Courage Awards ceremony. “Howard G. Buffett recalls being so deeply impressed with Niedringhaus’ talent and dedication that his foundation provided the funds for her to attend Harvard University as a Nieman Fellow in 2007,” says the IWMF. Buffett explains the reasons he pushed for the creation of this award: “I considered Anja a friend who represented the best of photojournalism. By creating this award, we ensure her spirit lives on. Anja’s voice may be …


Anastasia Taylor-Lind’s Maidan: Portraits from Ukraine’s Black Square

“When Anastasia Taylor-Lind arrived in central Kiev on 01 February, Independence Square was under siege, surrounded by police loyal to the government. Rising tensions culminated in the worst day of violence on 20 February and the following day President Yanokovych fled Ukraine. In all, three months of protests resulted in 112 confirmed dead, and many more missing,” writes Gost, a book imprint that will publish Taylor-Lind portraits of fighters and mourners this coming July. “The ‘fighters’ are identified by their homemade body armour, and the ‘mourners’ by the bunches of flowers they have brought to pay their respects to the dead.” “It was Larry Towell who suggested that this project should become a book,” Taylor-Lind tells BJP. “We shared an apartment and one day after work in Maidan, about half way through my project he just said: ‘That’d make a good book.’ I was a bit taken aback but it was on my mind from then on, and I started to think about the work being presented in that way as I continued shooting the project. I can’t …


Photojournalist Kerim Okten killed in lightning accident

“We have lost a great friend and esteemed colleague,” says European Pressphoto Agency’s editor-in-chief Hannah Hess. “For many within the epa family Kerim was a beloved friend, a brother and one of the finest. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, his family, friends and colleagues.” Kerim Okten, 42, died on 10 April when his motorbike was hit by lighting. Born in 1972 in Istanbul, Okten first worked for a national newspaper and magazines before joining epa in 1998, “since when he has covered stories in Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, among others and has also participated in major international sporting events,” says his agency. “In 2012, when he was chief photographer in Turkey, Kerim left Istanbul for London for his new role as UK chief photographer. Kerim returned to Turkey in December 2013.” He chaired the sports category competition at this year’s World Press Photo.  


Dorothea Lange–Paul Taylor Prize calls for entries

The Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor documentary prize, organised by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, was first launched to encourage collaboration between a photographer and a writer in the tradition of Dorothea Lange and Paul Taylor who worked together on the seminal work American Exodus. Last year, however, the prize was relaunched to allow solo photographers and artists to apply to the grant. The $10,000 cash prize serves to support “documentary artists – working alone or in teams – who are involved in extended, ongoing fieldwork projects that rely on and exploit, in intriguing and effective ways, the interplay of words and images in the creation and presentation of their work.” The changes were introduced after the Center for Documentary Studies launched its Master of Fine Arts in Experimental and Documentary Arts at Duke University, which brings together two forms of artistic activity: “the documentary approach and experimental production in analog, digital and computational media,” says Duke University. There are no restrictions regarding age, nationality, or subject matter. The deadline for entries is 07 May, with the winner …


Adobe releases Lightroom for iPad, restricted to Creative Cloud users

First rumoured two years ago, Adobe has finally unveiled Lightroom mobile, its companion app to the Lightroom desktop app. [bjp_ad_slot] Yet, photographers won’t be able to test-drive the app, as access is granted only to Adobe Creative Cloud subscribers – prices starts at £8.78 per month. “The new Lightroom mobile app brings powerful Lightroom tools to the iPad, delivering photography essentials – such as non-destructive processing of files – and utilising new Smart Preview technologies to free professional-class photo editing from the confines of the desktop,” says Adobe in a statement. “Lightroom mobile is built on a powerful synchronisation architecture, designed specifically for photos, and provides the most efficient way to manage and edit images across desktops, mobile devices and the Web.” Users are able to sync their mobile edits, metadata and collection change back to their Lightroom catalog on a computer, import images captured on an iPad, as well as work on images even when offline. For more information about Lightroom mobile, visit the Adobe website.


Ian Parry Scholarship 2014 opens for entries

Photographers have until 07 July to enter this year’s Ian Parry Scholarship. Launched in 1991 in honour of Ian Parry, a 24-year-old photojournalist who was tragically killed whilst on assignment for The Sunday Times in December 1989 in Romania, the Scholarship comes with a £3500 grant for the production of a documentary body of work. The winner is also automatically added to the final list of nominees for the Joop Swart Masterclass in Amsterdam, and will join the Reportage by Getty Images agency as an Emerging Talent. [bjp_ad_slot] “This year is the 25th Anniversary of the Ian Parry Scholarship,” says Rebecca McClelland, the organisation’s creative director. “We will be remembering Ian and marking this special occasion with a series of new free events, publications and exhibitions.” She adds: “The scholarship provides an important platform to showcase your work and also the chance to be mentored by us in the photographic industry. We are looking for stories that have been well-researched with originality and not necessarily in far flung destinations.” For more details about the scholarship and to …


Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus killed [update]

Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus and reporter Kathy Gannon were in Khost in eastern Afghanistan covering the run-up to the presidential elections when an Afghan policeman approached their vehicle at a security checkpoint. “[He] yelled ‘Allahu Akbar’ — God is Great — and opened fire on them in the back seat with his AK-47,” the Associated Press reports. “He then surrendered to the other police and was arrested.” Gannon survived the attack but was wounded twice and is now being treated in a local hospital. In a statement to his staff, Gary Pruitt, president and CEO of AP, said: “It is with grief and great sadness that I let you know that photographer Anja Niedringhaus has been killed while working in Afghanistan […] Those of you who worked with Anja know what a life force she was: spirited, intrepid and fearless, with a raucous laugh that we will always remember.” AP’s vice president and director of photography Santiago Lyon, who has known and worked with Anja for 22 years, adds: “Anja was one of the most …


W. Eugene Smith Grant for Humanistic Photography calls for entries

The W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography, created in 1978 in honour of the US photo essayist, offers, each year, $30,000 to a documentary photographer to complete a current or future documentary project. [bjp_ad_slot] “The Smith Fund has supported dozens of world-class photographers who have created bodies of work that illustrate the human condition and provide a voice for those who cannot provide one for themselves,” says Marcel Saba, president of the Smith Fund board of trustees, in a press statement. The winning project should “follow the tradition of W. Eugene Smith’s concerned photography and dedicated compassion exhibited during his 45-year career as a photographic essayist. “Each year, the Fund’s Board of Trustees appoints a three-member international jury who meet twice during the adjudication process and finalists are selected primarily on the basis of the substantive (and intellectual) merit of their project,” say the organisers. “Finalists will then be asked to submit a comprehensive photographic print portfolio, to write (if necessary) a more detailed and focused proposal, and to answer questions about their project. Grant …


Reuters maintains dogged silence on allegations of ‘staged images’

“Reuters photographers, staff and freelancers must not stage or re-enact news events,” reads Reuters’ Handbook of Journalism. “They may not direct the subjects of their images, or add, remove or move objects on a news assignment. Our news photography must depict reality. Any attempt to alter that reality constitutes fabrication and can lead to disciplinary action, including dismissal.” The integrity, professionalism and independence of the news-gathering process is paramount for organisations such as Reuters, Agence France-Presse and Associated Press. In January, when the latter learned that one of its employees had used Photoshop to remove an object from one of his images, the photographer, Narciso Contreras, was promptly and publicly dismissed, his reputation in tatters, and his archives of images withdrawn from the news agency’s database. In 2006, Lebanese freelance photographer Adnan Hajj, who had worked with Reuters for more than 10 years, was fired after he was found to have digitally altered some of his images while covering the Israel-Lebanon conflict. The agency removed Hajj’s 920 images from its archives and launched an internal …


BJP Staff