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Laid Off ‘Sun-Times’ Photographer Documents New Life With iPhone

By now you’ve probably heard the unfortunate news that the entire photography staff was laid off by the Chicago Sun-Times last week. Well, one of the photojournalists has decided to share his life through his iPhone, as mentioned on JimRomenesko.

Rob Hart writes in his Tumblr account, “Rob Hart was replaced with a reporter with an iPhone, so he is documenting his new life with an iPhone, but with the eye of a photojournalist trained in storytelling.”

The freelance photojournalist and adjunct faculty member of photojournalism at the Medill School of Journalism posted his first photo of a zig zag carpet design. The caption read: “Zero hour. Carpet on the 14th floor of the Holiday Inn where 28 Sun-Times photographers lost their jobs.”

Throughout the past several days, in true storytelling form, he was able to witness his daughter taking some of her first steps, return to class at Medill, and reminisce good times at the Billy Goat Tavern during “hour 1″ of this new chapter.

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Blogging’s Evolution: Blogs Now Homes For High-Quality Photos, Content

This should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the rise and decline of blogs over the past few years but it’s interesting to see how blogs have changed.

Where once they were places for quick updates (because they allowed you to make changes to content without rebuilding your whole site), they’re now homes to long, thoughtful pieces (because social media is now the home of quick updates).

A Photo Editor points out on his blog that this new care taken with blog posts extends to images too. Example? Mashable is hiring a photo editor “to help take its on-site images to the next level.” A blog hiring a photo editor. This is a far cry from blogging’s beginnings where blog owners were entrepreneurial, jack-of-all-trade powerhouses, doing the writing, photography (or stock image sourcing), and backend management all themselves.

By the way if you want to apply for the Mashable position, it’s posted here.

Emphas.is Crowdfunds Visual Journalism



If you’re a photographer looking for funding, Emphas.is is a resource to have in your toolbox.

Similar to sites like Kickstarter, a photographer can pitch his or her project straight to the public, who agree to fund the project if and only if the photog can muster enough financial support for the whole thing.

The site runs kind of like a cross between Kickstarter and Spot.us, where a publisher can get exclusive first rights to a story by kicking in enough cash.

(However, since there are already plenty of photography projects on Kickstarter, we’re not sure whether there’s a need for a separate visual journalism crowdfunding site.)

On the other hand, plenty of projects have been funded through the site–which has recently begun offering a photobook option–so anything that helps media people continue their work and let their work see the light of day is probably a positive.

Getty Cuts Pay For Photojournalists

Photo agency Getty has sent a new contract to its editorial contributors that specifies a flat 35 percent royalty for all sales, reports PDN.

Under the current arrangement, photographers could get as much as 50 percent revenue per image sale. But photographers who don’t sign the new contract will be terminated, PDN says.

Getty’s plan is to lower the prices it asks for photos, in order to better compete with low-priced competitors. But when PDN asked about this, a spokesperson said: “[W]e are developing new ways for customers to use more of our content and as a result, new ways to pay contributors must be created in these situations.”

But, Getty says, there are a few upsides: Getty is “‘making changes and improvements around how we share and license our content, which will benefit our photographers,’ by providing more exposure and more potential for sales of their images,” the spokesperson told PDN. Hmm.

Photog With Hugely Successful Blog Calls It Quits

Photographer Kirk Tuck has been writing a blog since 2007 on gear, the industry, and inspiration.

He’s got over 700 entries and sees 12,000 pageviews a day, which is pretty darn good for a one-man shop.

But he’s calling it quits. He says:

I should have been on the phone continuing to make calls to prospective clients. I should have been working on the two book projects I have in front of me. I should have been swimming or running. But instead I was writing a piece about a $499 camera that will be obsolete in a few months and lost to nearly everyone’s memory in a year.

Sure, there’s an ego reward that goes along with putting out a blog…My name recognition among photographers is currently strong. If I liked doing workshops that would be a good thing. If I had products to sell to other photographers that would be a good thing. But the time spent here is time stolen from things that are more important for me….I’m done spending time creating content for free.

If Tuck’s viewpoint spreads, this has troubling implications for the Huffington Posts of the world. Here’s a guy who was doing everything right according to the laws of the new media economy: give something away for free in order to build a brand, then sell your work. If it wasn’t working to Tuck’s satisfaction—if blogging doesn’t help you sell photos—then there are suddenly a lot fewer reasons to do it.

Photo Editor Told To Lay Off Half His Staff, Resigns Instead

The Dayton Daily News’s photo editor, a two-time Pulitzer winner, was told he needed to cut two to four positions, or half his photography staff.

So Larry Price resigned instead, the Dayton Business Journal says.

“I do not believe the layoffs are fair to you as individuals or that they are in the best interest of the Dayton Daily news and our readers. If these cuts are enacted, it will be impossible to meet the Cox initiatives for covering breaking news, sharing content with our media partners and growing our online presence,” he said in a letter to his staff.

This might have been a long time coming, anyway. In a separate Dayton Business Journal article Price explained to reporter Ginger Christ how he felt his employer’s approach to photography change over the years:

Price saw the DDN’s approach to photography continue to change; photographs became less of a focus and graphics were used in their place whenever possible.
The seminal moment for him occurred earlier this year after he had to defend a photograph of a girl with tears in her eyes at a candlelight vigil in west Dayton. The photo, he was told, was too emotional.
“The new prerogative, as it was explained to me, was to dumb down the photo report, to pull back and show crowd photographs,” Price said.
At that point, Price said he realized there was a mandate to stop producing sophisticated visual content.

What now?

“I’m going to take pictures. I’m going to take fine photographs. I’m in a position, I’m not in mid-career, I’m not trying to start out. I’m luckier than some,” Price told Christ.

‘Media Producers’ Find Job Success At PR Firms

The silos are breaking down, says Arik C. Hanson, principal of ACH Communications in Minnesota. When before you could be just a writer or just a photographer, tomorrow’s PR pro is going to need to know more than one technology. (We’ve already seen this happen in journalism.)

“Many companies cannot afford to specialize any longer when it comes to content. Sure, they need quality, but not at a severe cost (and not for every project)….companies will be looking more and more for a professional with storytelling skills. And photography skills. And video producing and editing skills. These people exist–just not in big numbers quite yet.”

A PR ‘media producer’ would know the basics of photography, writing, SEO, social media, video, and podcasting, just to name a few.

Hanson says he’s already seen some employers looking for such a candidate.

And if you think this is nigh impossible, look what one producer (who, to be fair, specializes in video) for the National Science Foundation did recently. Total budget: $0. That’s right, $0. So writers, that excuse about how it costs too much to learn video just went out the window.

(story via)

How Fast Company Treats Photographers (Not Badly!)


It’s always nice to hear a tale of a freelancer and a magazine coming to a fair agreement.*

This may be why we love these Real World Estimates features from A Photo Editor which detail exactly how a photographer goes about setting up a contract with a client.

In the latest instance we read about Bill Cramer, who did a shoot for Fast Company magazine. The mag, it turns out, pays a flat fee per shoot which seems reasonable to us (though we don’t know what the going rate is); Cramer’d prefer to “structure editorial fees on the basis of a day rate vs. space” but he went with it.

The magazine paid his expenses, showed some leeway on contract terminology (Cramer struck out some lines relating to FC’s rights to resell his photos, and they accepted it), and had a generally reasonable (according to Cramer) contract.

Sounds like a good place to shoot for if your work’s up to the challenge. Photo Director Leslie de la Vega is in charge. Read the whole shoot debriefing at A Photo Editor.
*This could be putting words in the photog’s mouth, but he certainly gave the impression that it seemed fair to him.

Two Photogs Hiring Interns: One Goes Trad, The Other Rad

So over at A Photo Editor there’s a small note about two photographers who posted job ads for interns one day apart.

The first: “Afghan girl” photographer Steve McCurry (we’d embed an image here, but apparently he’s oldschool enough to actually get paid big bucks whenever anyone uses his photos, and we’d rather not be the one paying). The second: Vincent LaForet, Pulitzer winner and three-time winner at the 2010 Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

“Oldschooler” McCurry “goes for the craigslist classified ad seeking an intern who is ‘highly motivated’ with a ‘proven track record of excellence.’” The position is full-time and unpaid.

Meanwhile, “New schooler LaForet goes for the blog post (natch) where his legions of followers can quickly spread the word and apply for 3 (yes 3!) open slots on his team. Applicants must be “proficient in Premiere or Final Cut Pro” and “obsessed with gear” and have the ability to “grade footage.”" The positions are paid and part-time.

Very interesting: normally, the blogger would be hiring the unpaid interns, yes?

If you go to the Photo Editor post you can see an application for McCurry’s internship that is absolutely hilarious, but was clearly written by someone who would much rather be getting paid.

Captured Then Freed NYT Journo Plans To Stay In The Business

Lynsey Addario spent seven days in captivity in Libya, and her story, along with three other New York Times journalists, was published in a March 22 NYT piece.

Reading through the comments on that article, though, Addario says she noticed a pattern.

“Some comments said: ‘How dare a woman go to a war zone?’ and ‘How could The New York Times let a woman go to the war zone?’

“To me, that’s grossly offensive. This is my life, and I make my own decisions. If a woman wants to be a war photographer, she should.”

Yes, it’s different being a woman on the front lines: she might not be able to jump across a 3-foot-wide canal and she admits she’s not as strong as her male colleagues, despite daily exercise (“Because if you do a lot of military embeds, people are not going to wait for you”). And she was groped a dozen times in Libya. “I do find that a woman who is alone is more prone to being mistreated than a woman who is with a man,” she says.

But she can enter private Muslim homes and spend time with even the most conservative Muslim families. That’s something men can’t do.

And despite the physical and emotional toll, she plans to stay in the business. “I will cover another war. I’m sure I will. It’s what I do. It’s important to show people what’s happening,” she writes.

Brava Lynsey.

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