The world we imagine

Photojournalists often claim their photographs are simply a visual document of the way the world truly is — an “unbiased” reflection of reality.

What I love about Richard Rinaldi’s “Touching Strangers” project (below) is the full embrace of the opposite conceit: photography as a reflection of the world we picture, the world we imagine, the world as we want it to be.

(Thanks for the tip, Alydda.) 

Squeezing National Geographic “like a tube of toothpaste”

Has the meaning and focus of the “Afghan Girl” photo changed over the years? Has Sharbat Gula become the poster child not for the plight of Afghan refugees, but for the National Geographic Society itself? Food for thought….

Sharbat-Gula-3rd-time-Bag-News

Read the whole thing here.

The Pro-Am Divide: Two Stories

The Chicago Sun-Times recently fired all its photographers.
The paper’s new plan: Hire freelancers.
And give each Sun-Times reporter an iPhone
along with tips on how to use its camera.
So when the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup this week,
the Sun-Times published this:

Chicago Sun Times Stanley Cup cover

Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune, which still maintains
a staff of professional photographers,
published this:

Chicago Tribune cover Stanley Cup

Score one for the pros.
On the other hand…
When Rusty, a red panda, escaped from the National Zoo this week,
professional photojournalists and videographers
ran a slow second:

Old media meets new media

Score one for the amateurs.

_____
≡ Stanley Cup covers via PetaPixel 
≡ Tweet by @Patrick_Madden

Remembering Bob Gilka (1916-2013)

Bob Gilka

Bob Gilka in 2007

From the National Press Photographers Association:

ARLINGTON, VA (June 25, 2013) – Robert E. Gilka, a newspaper photographer and editor who was a mentor to legions of photographers and who was the director of photography for National Geographic Magazine for more than 27 years, died today.

Gilka was 96 and in hospice care in Arlington, VA, photojournalist Bruce Dale said, and he was battling with his third round of pneumonia this year when he peacefully passed at 4:40 a.m.

“Bob was a father figure to me, and to many of us who may not have had a father,” Dale told News Photographer magazine today. “He dressed us down when we needed it, but he always stuck up for his staff. There was nothing he wouldn’t do to defend his photographers.”

“The halls and offices of National Geographic are buzzing with Bob Gilka stories,” Chris Johns told News Photographer magazine today. Johns, who was only 28 when he was named the Newspaper Photographer of the Year, and who only three weeks ago was promoted to Geographic’s editor in chief and executive vice president, probably knew Gilka as well as anyone over the decades.

“There is laughter and there are tears because Bob touched so many lives in remarkable ways. He was an honest, direct, no-nonsense gentleman we never wanted to disappoint. He didn’t gush and go on and on about our work, but we knew he cared deeply about us and believed in the work we were doing. He encouraged us, set standards of excellence and instilled in us the desire to become better photographers and editors. And, most importantly, he inspired us to grow in all aspects of our lives. Bob made me want to become a better son, husband, father, colleague and friend. I speak for many when I say how truly grateful we are to have known Bob and worked for him.” …

Read more here.

_____
≡ photo by Bruce Dale via Wikimedia Commons

The Society’s Big Problem in one tweet

From Keith Bellows,
Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic Traveler:

Keith Bellows tweet

Which begs the question:
Who is following whom?

Keith Bellows tweet followers

Physician, heal thyself

What we say:

{ click to enlarge }message-on-photo-manipulation-ngm

Read the full message here.

What we do:

James Cameron on cover of National Geographic magazine

Moving fast

Here at Society Matters, we frequently cover how the gap between pro & amateur photographers is closing fast.

To keep ahead of this “army of [digitally-armed] Davids,” the pros have had to pick up the tempo — and some of them have: 

Could amateurs orchestrate such an impressive production? Maybe. Will they? Probably not.

Point to our professional friends at National Geographic magazine.

“Amplifying the voice of the everyday people”?

National Geographic temporarily stopped posting images on Instagram to protest changes to Instagram’s Terms of Service. But now…

Instagram_NatGeo_were_back

From Kevin Systrom’s post:

… You also had deep concerns about whether under our new terms, Instagram had any plans to sell your content. I want to be really clear: Instagram has no intention of selling your photos, and we never did.

From the comments on Instagram about @NatGeo’s return:

reefrevolution @natgeo thanks for speaking up!

julievaillancourt26 Proof that when people stand up, companies don’t have a choice but to listen!!!

wbjamiso Thanks Nat Geo for publicly speaking up and amplifying the voice of the everyday people.

adams_daily_photo_mojo Do not be fooled!! NatGeo does the same thing Instagram is doing. Any images you submit to Nat Geo can be used in ads by them or their affiliates. #callaspadeaspade#hypocrites #shameonyou

Adams Daily Photo Mojo makes an excellent point. Here’s an excerpt from National Geographic’s Terms of Service:

5. You retain all of your ownership rights in material you upload, comments you post, or other content you provide to the Site (“User Content”). By uploading User Content, however, you grant National Geographic (which includes its subsidiaries, affiliates, joint venturers, and licensees) the following rights: a royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual license to display, distribute, reproduce, and create derivatives of the User Content, in whole or in part, without further review or participation from you, in any medium now existing or subsequently developed, in editorial, commercial, promotional, and trade uses in connection with NG Products. National Geographic may license or sublicense, in whole or in part, to third parties rights in User Content as appropriate to distribute, market, or promote such NG Products. ….”

That language doesn’t really suggest that our Society is “speaking up and amplifying the voice of the everyday people.” But we do love the sentiment.

National Geographic vs. Instagram & Flickr?

Dan_Stone_Twitter_big_NG_staff_mtg_photo_sharing

Instagram vs. Your Shot: When comparing their Terms of Service, what’s the real difference?

Instagram_change_terms_service

This big picture grab by Instagram sparked a firestorm of protest on the web today, including some threatening words from National Geographic.

First, though, here’s an excerpt from Instagram’s revised Terms of Service:

To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.

From Instagram’s description of “proprietary rights”:

Instagram does NOT claim ANY ownership rights in the text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, applications, or any other materials (collectively, “Content”) that you post on or through the Instagram Services. By displaying or publishing (“posting”) any Content on or through the Instagram Services, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, worldwide, limited license to use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and translate such Content, including without limitation distributing part or all of the Site in any media formats through any media channels, except Content not shared publicly (“private”) will not be distributed outside the Instagram Services.

Late today, National Geographic posted this:

NatGeo_Instagram_suspending

Here’s what puzzling: National Geographic’s Your Shot feature — which enables amateur photographers to share their photographs on the NGS website — includes the following language in its Terms of Service:

5. You retain all of your ownership rights in material you upload, comments you post, or other content you provide to the Site (“User Content”). By uploading User Content, however, you grant National Geographic (which includes its subsidiaries, affiliates, joint venturers, and licensees) the following rights: a royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual license to display, distribute, reproduce, and create derivatives of the User Content, in whole or in part, without further review or participation from you, in any medium now existing or subsequently developed, in editorial, commercial, promotional, and trade uses in connection with NG Products. National Geographic may license or sublicense, in whole or in part, to third parties rights in User Content as appropriate to distribute, market, or promote such NG Products. ….”

Which begs the question: Why is it okay for National Geographic to profit from pictures uploaded by amateur photographers to Your Shot, but it’s not okay for Instagram to profit from photos uploaded by National Geographic?

Happily, the fix for Your Shot is an easy one: National Geographic should revise its Terms of Service, and share any revenues generated by Your Shot photographs with the people who actually took and submitted the pictures. Say, 80% to the photographer, 20% to the Society. But only NGS members would be eligible to participate in this revenue sharing, which would give people an incentive to join our Society.

Who knows? Maybe that’s the sort of benefit that Amy Maniatis will offer when the Society’s new membership program is rolled out in… well, it should be very soon.

NO NEW POSTS will be published here after February 6, 2014. THIS IS WHY.