4 Mar

Originally posted on timclaytonphoto:

I have had a few conversations over the past eighteen months with some of the ‘heavyweights’ of the world sports photography fraternity about the need for a World Sports Photography Competition. Everyone has agreed, not one word of discouragement, but a general desire by everyone that we need to do something, anything!

The way I see it is we are the black sheep of the photo journalism community, looked down upon by other genres who often rudely dismiss us as ‘not worthy’ as I have experienced on more than one occasion when attending International Photography Contest presentations. World Press Photo seems to have a problem with us too, constantly changing our categories, one year there is twelve awards, the next six, the next nine. What to do with the problem child?

Yes we are different, we are unique in the sense that we have white line borders that prevent us…

View original 521 more words

Time for a World Sports Photography Competition?

2 Mar Branxton Rodeo

I have had a few conversations over the past eighteen months with some of the ‘heavyweights’ of the world sports photography fraternity about the need for a World Sports Photography Competition. Everyone has agreed, not one word of discouragement, but a general desire by everyone that we need to do something, anything!

The way I see it is we are the black sheep of the photo journalism community, looked down upon by other genres who often rudely dismiss us as ‘not worthy’ as I have experienced on more than one occasion when attending International Photography Contest presentations. World Press Photo seems to have a problem with us too, constantly changing our categories, one year there is twelve awards, the next six, the next nine. What to do with the problem child?

Yes we are different, we are unique in the sense that we have white line borders that prevent us from engaging with the subject from two feet away, we would love to be street photographers walking around with one body and a 35mm lens but we actually have to carry three bodies with a 500mm a 200mm and a wide angle (or similar) which weigh a ton. We are often penned in and point and shoot becomes inevitable in many cases.

Are we good? Sports photography to my minds is still in it’s infancy, for the most part our story telling is abysmal, many photographers don’t go beyond the point and shoot single image, the wires now sit photographers in the same spot for entire events and let them robotically record ‘the moment’ from that position and woe betide if you miss. Publications specializing in sports photography have become predictable and boring, relying on cliche images week after week to conform to a formula that insists it has to be inside the conforming style square, once you do this you stop photographers thinking outside the square which makes the product predicable and kills fresh eyes and new evolving direction. Look out for the overhead basketball image in the next two weeks! Odds are 2-1 on.

Until now, no competition has existed that recognizes the talents of sports photographers across a range of sports photography disciplines showing the varied skills of great action sports photography to features, portrait’s, portfolios, image sets, extreme sports, advertising, conceptual, even individual sports themselves could well have a place in a truly International Sports competition that has a world view, not a national view on sports photography.

A world sports photography competition could bring greater awareness to the dedicated photographers working in their field of expertise, bring greater recognition to the quality images produced of athletes of all levels and the spirit and place of sport in the society we live in. We could produce a ‘Hall of Fame’ giving legendary photographers the recognition they deserve as they pushed boundary’s to create a new level of quality sports photography. We could also aid young up and coming photographers with workshops, lectures, mentoring and grants for personal sports projects which exists in all other areas of photo journalism. We could also promote the advancement of  sports photography supporting a high ethical standard pre and post production while encouraging documentary sports photography to help take the quality of work we do to a higher level and more importantly, give our genre of photo journalism respect.

The result would be an incredible image collection year on year that can be viewed as a collection to educate through books, exhibitions and online presentations. We need to move forward. Despite all the problems that exist in the industry there has never been a better time for young bright passionate photographers to become sports photographers, the average age of the photographers at the London Olympics was probably close to mid 50’s, we have stopped fighting and now have to wake each other up at the finish line as runners approach. How times have changed. Fresh talented minds are needed now. A positive direction is needed now.

Anyone with a passion for sports photography and a spare million please apply within.

25 Feb

Originally posted on timclaytonphoto:

In the wake of this weeks ‘Paulogate’ along with image enhancement in competitions it was with great sadness and an amazing amount of irony to read about the passing of Ozzie Sweet, 94, in the New York Times obituaries column today. The beautifully written obituary by Bruce Weber gives an amazing insight into his life as a photographer in the early to middle parts of the last century, I was particularly interested to read about his sports photography exploits, dangling baseball bats on fishing line for a contrived image with Roger Maris to directing Jackie Robinson into a mid slide pose.

There were a couple of really interesting observations relevant to this weeks discussions. Firstly, is the admission that Ozzie used a friend to pose as a German soldier to symbolize the end of World War II.

I am not sure if the photograph was taken anywhere near Rochester.

Secondly…

View original 905 more words

Paulogate

25 Feb

In the wake of this weeks ‘Paulogate’ along with image enhancement in competitions it was with great sadness and an amazing amount of irony to read about the passing of Ozzie Sweet, 94, in the New York Times obituaries column today. The beautifully written obituary by Bruce Weber gives an amazing insight into his life as a photographer in the early to middle parts of the last century, I was particularly interested to read about his sports photography exploits, dangling baseball bats on fishing line for a contrived image with Roger Maris to directing Jackie Robinson into a mid slide pose.

There were a couple of really interesting observations relevant to this weeks discussions. Firstly, is the admission that Ozzie used a friend to pose as a German soldier to symbolize the end of World War II.

I am not sure if the photograph was taken anywhere near Rochester.

Secondly, he considered himself not a news photographer but a photographic image maker.

Interesting.

How I wish we could have had his thoughts during this weeks discussions as the industry attempts to move forward.

Ozzie Sweet

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/sports/ozzie-sweet-who-helped-define-new-era-of-photography-dies-at-94.html

Speaking of thoughts, it would have been very interesting to read the views of prominent professional photojournalist and editors on this matter. Unfortunately the silence has been deafening which says more than if they had been condemning or supporting Paulo Pellegrin. Has everyone run to put their heads under the pillow in the hope it all goes away?

“Let he without sin cast the first stone” comes to mind.

Some great debate, observations and points of view have occurred and I have copied and pasted below a few blog posts that I have found particularly interesting.

David Hume Kennerly • (BagNews Blog)

I think many of the comments here miss the main point. Mr. Pellegrin felt he needed a white guy with a gun to cap off his incredibly biased piece on the Crescent in Rochester, took a picture of one who was 100% unrelated to the tale that he was spinning, and who on top of that was miles away from the scene of his interest. He then used that dramatic photo, (well, all his photos are dramatic), as part of his now award-winning picture story. Where I come from, and the business I’ve spent almost 50 years pursuing, doesn’t allow for that kind of thing, and it wouldn’t cross my mind to do it. Mr. Pellegrin is also trying to shoot the messenger, (you), by attacking your thesis by obfuscating to the max. He’s also laying off the blame for lifting the NY Times text that was used without attribution to accompany his photos, on his agency. The use of that text alone should disqualify his entry, and it should be nullified. In summation, I think you have done an excellent job of writing about this issue. I do agree with the comment that the use of your red marker was a bit over the top!

Stan B.  David Hume Kennerly  (response on BagNews Blog)
For the record, thank you for making that first point, Mr. Kennerly. If any of us (who have been pointing out the obvious along such lines in the past) had made such an observation, we would would have been scorned, lambasted, and ridiculed outta town…
David Hume Kennerly (NYT Lens Blog)

The truth as I see the Paolo Pellegrin saga, is that he posed a photo of a gun-toting white guy wearing a baseball hat, (a truly American cliché), to make his story on The Crescent in Rochester more relevant. It was also shot miles from the area. He is obfuscating about his use of a photo that is out of context with his essay, employing a Lance Armstrong type of defense, (i.e. shoot the messenger bearing the news, BagNews, and anyone else riding their, “journalistic high horse,” who dare criticize him). He also used verbatim an old story from the NY Times, no attribution, as the underlying text of his photomontage, a cardinal sin, and has blamed others for that. Contest entries are submitted under your name, and you are solely responsible for their content. Period. It’s not your assistant who is getting the award.

We photographers are at a crisis point of credibility, and the Pellegrin matter is exacerbating the problem. Something has to be done to help right a listing ship.

Reuters, AP, AFP, Getty, and other news publications have zero tolerance for this, and maintain that essential and hard line on professional ethics. The people who run the Pictures of the Year International, (POYi), and the World Press Photo contest need to do the same. They need to make a gutsy call now to fairly review this problem. If their judgment is that the awards given to Mr. Pellegin for his contest entries appear to be tainted, then those awards have to be withdrawn immediately.

Youngblood •  (BagNewsBlog)  ( I don’t think this is his real name)

As an ‘emerging photographer’, it’s incredibly discouraging to see the standards of ethics set (in the field and in post) to be worthy of admiration and praise. These contests are presented with such prestige, it’s difficult for the new generation of pjs, caught in the bloodbath of trying to get your name on the map, to not conform to the expectation. I wish WPP/POYI/etc would realize the repercussions their own ethics could have on the future of the industry.

Davin Ellicson  (BagNewsBlog)
also find it kind of funny that the cover of David Alan Harvey’s book on Rio is his assistant. Candy was also on the cover of NatGeo Brazil. Candy is not from Brazil and was not just some passerby either. She works for Harvey. How is this different?
Perhaps it is time to redefine ‘photo journalist’ and ‘photographic image maker’ so not just emerging photographers like Youngblood but the rest of the photographic profession can decide direction and acceptable ethical standards. Do we head back to the mid 20th century or do we have a definitive direction for photo journalism?  What happens in the next few days is crucial for our industry and as David Hume Kennerly says, “We photographers are at a crisis point of credibility, and the Pellegrin matter is exacerbating the problem. Something has to be done to help right a listing ship. “
We await with bated breath…

The World Press Photo Debate

21 Feb

Image

An interesting debate has developed following on from the recent World Press Photo results, particularly with this blog posting on Photoshelter by Allen Murabayashi. He asks the question, why do photo contest winners look like movie Posters?

http://blog.photoshelter.com/2013/02/why-do-photo-contest-winners-look-like-movie-posters/

and continues here…

http://blog.photoshelter.com/2013/02/darkrooms-are-irrelevant-and-the-truth-matters/

I think the winning image by Swedish Photographer Paul Hansen is a great image that has been enhanced. Is it on the edge of acceptability? I think it is, but it is a truly great image and worthy of the premier award. It has a similar finished ‘style’ to the work of the brilliant Yuri Kozyrev which in previous years has received many World Press Awards. That ethical standard has already been set by jury’s past.

The blog also uses two other images as examples. One from Micah Albert who’s image won 1st place, Contemporary Issues – Singles, appears to have an interesting ‘pastel cyan’ feel to it while the third example and the image I am most concerned with is the Synchronised Swimming image taken by Wei Zheng who took third place in Sport Action. The image appears to have been quite heavily dodged and burnt and has a halo effect around the main subject.

Here is a the same moment taken by another photographer Sascha Fromm which shows the actual lighting conditions.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=540913042606691&set=a.235438549820810.64893.143416292356370&type=1&theater

857762_540913042606691_747654882_o

 

As much as we are all entitled to our own opinions the debate will continue.  It must be pointed out that none of these photographers have done anything wrong. In fact, no photographer who won award categories in any competition have done anything wrong. They have presented their work as they feel fit within the competition guidelines, it is their eye, their vision and their interpretation of events both in shooting and at post production that has been presented before the judging panel, whatever work they have done in post production is there for all to see. The World Press appoints a group of judges who are leaders in their fields to oversee not only the image selection but also to maintain an ethical standard, they have the responsibility of maintaining a standard .

The earlier rounds of the sports category, for example, had three photographers who covered the Olympic games including Bill Frakes from Sports Illustrated who witnessed first hand, lighting and conditions at many of the venues and saw thousand upon thousands of images shot during the games both during the event and during the judging of the competition. The final rounds were then judged by a collective of great photographic minds from all fields of photo-journalism who also deemed there was nothing wrong with the photoshop work applied to any image that won. One can assume therefore that any image they thought was unacceptable was removed from the competition.

I recently had the incredible honor to judge the sports category in the POY competition in Missouri and we actually ‘outed’ a strong action image because it hadn’t been enhanced. The image was incorrectly exposed and washed out and would have taken less than a minute to ‘improve’ in photoshop. So where do we draw the line at both ends of the scale?

There is no doubt the ethics of what we do has come along way since the red filter on the lens and dodging and burning days in the black and white darkroom and I was as guilty as anyone of overworking images. So afraid, I now do next to nothing to enhance an image. So too has the practicing of ‘setting up’ images and falsifying moments which as young trainees, many of us were taught to do. But it isn’t 1993 anymore and we move forward with standards and ethics and that, to my mind, is a responsibility of World Press and other major competitions to set a standard that is deemed acceptable. We can assume the World Press jury have done this with this collection of award winners and the post production on these images they have deemed acceptable.

Sadly, a new standard has been set.

Is our industry any better than performance enhancing drug takers in sport? Surely we can work it out in seconds because it is beyond obvious and our ‘drug testing’ requirement is simply the original raw file.

In 2010 World Press disqualified a photographer for overworking an image and removing a foot. http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/content_page.asp?cid=7-10049-10543. I think this year that ethical standard of overall acceptability has found a new level, viewed by many as unacceptable.  The judges have their names on this set of award winning acceptable image. This is the direction they consider we should emulate.

Perhaps the industry in general is moving towards fine art and away from strong ethical photo-journalistic values. Perhaps we are softening our approach to manipulated images which are in a style, pastel colors or de saturation comes to mind. We are now in an era where immediacy is more important than quality and images sell for $2.50 not $250, it is therefore not the responsibility of the photographers, but the responsibility of high standing judges appointed to decide direction and ethical acceptability, they are the custodians of the truth, ethics and direction. The rest of us simply follow scratching our heads.

The World Press Photo Debate

21 Feb

timclaytonphoto:

An interesting debate has developed following on from therecent World Press Photo results, particularly with this blog posting on Photoshelter by Allen Murabayashi. He asks the question, why do photo contest winners look like movie Posters?

http://blog.photoshelter.com/2013/02/why-do-photo-contest-winners-look-like-movie-posters/

and continues here…

http://blog.photoshelter.com/2013/02/darkrooms-are-irrelevant-and-the-truth-matters/

I think the winning image by Swedish Photographer Paul Hansen is a great image thathas been enhanced. Is it on the edge of acceptability? I think it is, but it is a truly great image and worthy of the premier award. It has a similar finished ‘style’ to the work of the brilliant Yuri Kozyrev which in previous years has received many World Press Awards. That ethical standard has already been set by jury’s past.

The blog also uses two other images as examples. One from Micah Albert who’s image won 1st place, Contemporary Issues – Singles, appears to have an interesting ‘pastel cyan’ feel to it while the third example and the image I am most concerned with is the Synchronised Swimming image taken by Wei Zheng who took third place in Sport Action. The image appears to have been quite heavily dodged and burnt and has a halo effect around the main subject.

Here is a the same moment taken by another photographer Sascha Fromm which shows the actual lighting conditions.

857762_540913042606691_747654882_o

 

It really is a no brainer.

 

 

As much as we are all entitled to our own opinions the debate will continue.  It must be pointed out that none of these photographers have done anything wrong. In fact, no photographer who won award categories in any competition have done anything wrong. They have presented their work as they feel fit within the competition guidelines, it is their eye, their vision and their interpretation of events both in shooting and at post production that has been presented before the judging panel, whatever work they have done in post production is there for all to see. The World Press appoints a group of judges who are leaders in their fields to oversee not only the image selection but also to maintain an ethical standard, they have the responsibility of maintaining a standard .

The earlier rounds of the sports category, for example, had three photographers who covered the Olympic games including Bill Frakes from Sports Illustrated who witnessed first hand, lighting and conditions at many of the venues and saw thousand upon thousands of images shot during the games both during the event and during the judging of the competition. The final rounds were then judged by a collective of great photographic minds from all fields of photo-journalism who also deemed there was nothing wrong with the photoshop work applied to any image that won. One can assume therefore that any image they thought was unacceptable was removed from the competition.

I recently had the incredible honor to judge the sports category in the POY competition in Missouri and we actually ‘outed’ a strong action image because it hadn’t been enhanced. The image was incorrectly exposed and washed out and would have taken less than a minute to ‘improve’ in photoshop. So where do we draw the line at both ends of the scale?

There is no doubt the ethics of what we do has come along way since the red filter on the lens and dodging and burning days in the black and white darkroom and I was as guilty as anyone of overworking images. So afraid, I now do next to nothing to enhance an image. So too has the practicing of ‘setting up’ images and falsifying moments which as young trainees, many of us were taught to do. But it isn’t 1993 anymore and we move forward with standards and ethics and that, to my mind, is a responsibility of World Press and other major competitions to set a standard that is deemed acceptable. We can assume the World Press jury have done this with this collection of award winners and the post production on these images they have deemed acceptable.

Sadly, a new standard has been set.

Is our industry any better than performance enhancing drug takers in sport? Surely we can work it out in seconds because it is beyond obvious and our ‘drug testing’ requirement is simply the original raw file.

In 2010 World Press disqualified a photographer for overworking an image and removing a foot. http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/content_page.asp?cid=7-10049-10543. I think this year that ethical standard of overall acceptability has found a new level, viewed by many as unacceptable.  The judges have their names on this set of award winning acceptable image. This is the direction they consider we should emulate.

Perhaps the industry in general is moving towards fine art and away from strong ethical photo-journalistic values. Perhaps we are softening our approach to manipulated images which are in a style, pastel colors or de saturation comes to mind. We are now in an era where immediacy is more important than quality and images sell for $2.50 not $250, it is therefore not the responsibility of the photographers, but the responsibility of high standing judges appointed to decide direction and ethical acceptability, they are the custodians of the truth, ethics and direction. The rest of us simply follow scratching our heads.

Originally posted on timclaytonphoto:

An interesting debate has developed following on from the recent World Press Photo results, particularly with this blog posting on Photoshelter by Allen Murabayashi. He asks the question, why do photo contest winners look like movie Posters?

http://blog.photoshelter.com/2013/02/why-do-photo-contest-winners-look-like-movie-posters/

and continues here…

http://blog.photoshelter.com/2013/02/darkrooms-are-irrelevant-and-the-truth-matters/

I think the winning image by Swedish Photographer Paul Hansen is a great image that has been enhanced. Is it on the edge of acceptability? I think it is, but it is a truly great image and worthy of the premier award. It has a similar finished ‘style’ to the work of the brilliant Yuri Kozyrev which in previous years has received many World Press Awards. That ethical standard has already been set by jury’s past.

The blog also uses two other images as examples. One from Micah Albert who’s image won 1st place, Contemporary Issues – Singles, appears to have an interesting ‘pastel cyan’ feel to it while…

View original 717 more words

The World Press Photo Debate

21 Feb 857762_540913042606691_747654882_o

An interesting debate has developed following on from the recent World Press Photo results, particularly with this blog posting on Photoshelter by Allen Murabayashi. He asks the question, why do photo contest winners look like movie Posters?

http://blog.photoshelter.com/2013/02/why-do-photo-contest-winners-look-like-movie-posters/

and continues here…

http://blog.photoshelter.com/2013/02/darkrooms-are-irrelevant-and-the-truth-matters/

I think the winning image by Swedish Photographer Paul Hansen is a great image that has been enhanced. Is it on the edge of acceptability? I think it is, but it is a truly great image and worthy of the premier award. It has a similar finished ‘style’ to the work of the brilliant Yuri Kozyrev which in previous years has received many World Press Awards. That ethical standard has already been set by jury’s past.

The blog also uses two other images as examples. One from Micah Albert who’s image won 1st place, Contemporary Issues – Singles, appears to have an interesting ‘pastel cyan’ feel to it while the third example and the image I am most concerned with is the Synchronised Swimming image taken by Wei Zheng who took third place in Sport Action. The image appears to have been quite heavily dodged and burnt and has a halo effect around the main subject.

Here is a the same moment taken by another photographer Sascha Fromm which shows the actual lighting conditions.

It really is a no brainer.

As much as we are all entitled to our own opinions the debate will continue.  It must be pointed out that none of these photographers have done anything wrong. In fact, no photographer who won award categories in any competition have done anything wrong. They have presented their work as they feel fit within the competition guidelines, it is their eye, their vision and their interpretation of events both in shooting and at post production that has been presented before the judging panel, whatever work they have done in post production is there for all to see. The World Press appoints a group of judges who are leaders in their fields to oversee not only the image selection but also to maintain an ethical standard, they have the responsibility of maintaining a standard .

The earlier rounds of the sports category, for example, had three photographers who covered the Olympic games including Bill Frakes from Sports Illustrated who witnessed first hand, lighting and conditions at many of the venues and saw thousand upon thousands of images shot during the games both during the event and during the judging of the competition. The final rounds were then judged by a collective of great photographic minds from all fields of photo-journalism who also deemed there was nothing wrong with the photoshop work applied to any image that won. One can assume therefore that any image they thought was unacceptable was removed from the competition.

I recently had the incredible honor to judge the sports category in the POY competition in Missouri and we actually ‘outed’ a strong action image because it hadn’t been enhanced. The image was incorrectly exposed and washed out and would have taken less than a minute to ‘improve’ in photoshop. So where do we draw the line at both ends of the scale?

There is no doubt the ethics of what we do has come along way since the red filter on the lens and dodging and burning days in the black and white darkroom and I was as guilty as anyone of overworking images. So afraid, I now do next to nothing to enhance an image. So too has the practicing of ‘setting up’ images and falsifying moments which as young trainees, many of us were taught to do. But it isn’t 1993 anymore and we move forward with standards and ethics and that, to my mind, is a responsibility of World Press and other major competitions to set a standard that is deemed acceptable. We can assume the World Press jury have done this with this collection of award winners and the post production on these images they have deemed acceptable.

Sadly, a new standard has been set.

Is our industry any better than performance enhancing drug takers in sport? Surely we can work it out in seconds because it is beyond obvious and our ‘drug testing’ requirement is simply the original raw file.

In 2010 World Press disqualified a photographer for overworking an image and removing a foot. http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/content_page.asp?cid=7-10049-10543. I think this year that ethical standard of overall acceptability has found a new level, viewed by many as unacceptable.  The judges have their names on this set of award winning acceptable image. This is the direction they consider we should emulate.

Perhaps the industry in general is moving towards fine art and away from strong ethical photo-journalistic values. Perhaps we are softening our approach to manipulated images which are in a style, pastel colors or de saturation comes to mind. We are now in an era where immediacy is more important than quality and images sell for $2.50 not $250, it is therefore not the responsibility of the photographers, but the responsibility of high standing judges appointed to decide direction and ethical acceptability, they are the custodians of the truth, ethics and direction. The rest of us simply follow scratching our heads.

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