Forging Links

Being a witness often requires absolute discretion in order to fulfill my commitment as a photographer faced with the issues of reserve, intimacy or confidentiality regarding certain social, political or religious demonstrations. In that case, I need to adapt to the context so that my camera will not be perceived as hostile or a menace. Above all, photography opens doors, and creates a pretext for a multitude of rich, essential, and, above all, human, encounters. This was the case over the course of the month of July, in France and elsewhere. Intangible links were created with people from all walks of life, all brought together by the power of images.

Photo by Emilie Jouffriault, Ateliers Reza_ChâtelleraultYouths from the Booster Program from Reza’s Visual Academy participate in the Paris Match contest, Ma France en Photo.
Young people from the

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Profoto B1–Nikon TTL: Field Test

I recently was fortunate enough to be allowed to play with a beta version of the Profoto Air Remote TTL-N units. That means, in short, the Nikon version of controllers for the already renowned Profoto B1 units. The Canon models have been out for a while, and now the remote for Nikon hits the market on Sept. 15. Hit this link for the complete skinny and specs. …
So, here’s the good news. My first frame shot with the unit was bang on in terms of exposure. (Which I figured was pretty good, as, it being the first time in the field with them, I really didn’t know what I was doing, or what to expect.) But, despite my first time fumbling, the unit had an exposure lock right out of the gate.
I’ve been asked many times, “Why bother

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Safeguarding Truth in Photojournalism

  • This article was published in Ochre Magazine August 13, 2014. A Survival guide to protecting your images.

    It wasn’t the war in Gaza, the bloodstained entrance of an orphanage or starving children in Angola. Not mourning widows in Bangladesh, or infant female circumcision in Guinea-Bissau. It was the strain of an endlessly multiplying tweet. Someone had taken one of her photos from the Internet and made it the face of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. After nearly 20 years of award-winning reporting in over 80 countries, Ami Vitale came to the brink of leaving photojournalism over a tweet.
    This is not the story of a misappropriated image gone viral. This is the story of what happened next.
    When a photo is published on the web, it falls into nimble, anonymous hands that upload and share millions of images each day. Context becomes

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    Fieldwork with the Family

    For many months of each year, I am in the field on my own.  But most summers in recent years, I have traveled with my wife Cheryl Knott, who is a Boston University professor and orangutan researcher, to her field site in Gunung Palung National Park in Borneo.  And we have also been taking our children with us.  This year I have been working on a new orangutan project for National Geographic, and NatGeo asked us to also cover the family angle.  So we have been writing a series of blog posts for their PROOF blog.
    See the latest post from my daughter Jessica at:…

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    The Sky is the Driver

    As I usually mention when teaching flash lighting, the most important light to observe and work with is not represented by that carton of flashes in the trunk of your car. It’s the ambient light level you encounter on location. Even if you go into a coal mine, and there is no light, that lack of ambient illumination becomes the driver for your flash solution. Likewise, outside, on a sunny day, that nuclear blast of photons up in the sky pushes you to light…or not. So, ironically, when you go on location as a “flash photographer.” no matter how many watt seconds you are packing. the ambient light is the key light to observe and react to.
    I was recently in San Diego, and my bud Earnie Grafton… set up an impromptu lighting workshop with his former staff mates at

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    GeekFest 2014

    GeekFest is a 3-day event hosted by the A Photo A Day (APAD) community, that brings photographers and visual journalists together for photography talk, guest speakers, and inspiration! This year, GeekFest is taking place in Philadelphia on the weekend of Sept. 12-14, 2014 at Temple University. Ed Kashi (VII) will be among the lineup of speakers for Saturday afternoon. 
    Come out to join the conversation and get inspired! For more info on the GeekFest schedule of events and how to register, visit the APAD blog and follow APAD on Twitter.…

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    Step by Step

    Walking . . . is how the body measures itself against the earth.
    - Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking
    New York

    Solvitur ambulando
    (To solve a problem, walk around)
    - St. Jerome

    There is nothing like walking to get the feel of a country. 
    A fine landscape is like a piece of music;
    it must be taken at the right tempo. 

    - Paul Scott Mowrer
    Architecture limits where one can walk,
    but the walker invents other ways to go.
    – Rebecca Solnit

    In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.
    - John Muir
    All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.
    - Friedrich Nietzsche
    My father considered a walk among the mountains
    as the equivalent of churchgoing. …

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    A Life of Laughter

    A bright light just went out. Robin Williams could speak faster than most of us can think. And when he spoke (often in tongues) we laughed, long, hard and well.
    Only photographed him once. Typical of his irreverent whimsy, he walked onstage to rehearse wearing a “Forty F%&*$#&G Niners” t-shirt, and dared the assembled photogs to take his picture and put that in your “family f%$*(**&^%g newspaper.” Had to bring my timing to get a publishable snap.
    We were all lucky to get anything sharp. He kept it lively, doing his routine, and riffing here and there. His pinball wizard brain kept us anywhere from chuckling to outright howling. I know I missed a bunch of pics just standing there, slack jawed at the pace of it, camera in my hands and not to my eye, giggling like an idiot.

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    Working in the Field

    Working in the Field

    Álftafjörður, Iceland – August 2, 2014
    We came to Iceland six weeks ago, with the best intentions of photographing some stupendous close-to-the-Arctic-Circle scenery, soaring sea birds, and elves awaiting behind every raise and fall of the land.  Here on the island things are either soft or hard: soft is the moss of many hues, and so is the water in ponds, puddles, fiords, and thousands of waterfalls, while hard is the rock, stone, cliff, gravel scree, and weather. There is no in-between.
    There is also very little good light, much of it stolen by billowing dark clouds spitting dark rain…

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    Knocking Around With Flash

    It’s been a busy year, so much so, I didn’t get around to doing a KelbyOne live seminar until late June. They are fun to do, and it looks like I’ll do a few more as the year progresses. The Kelby folks actually changed the name of the tour in the middle of things (thanks guys:-) so it is now called “The Power of One Flash.” Good example below. A very patient lady helped me out by coming out of the audience in San Jose for this one flash snap.
    It’s a one flash deal, but the flash is ping ponged off a white foam core board. It faces away from the subject, hits that board, enlarges and softens dramatically, and then hits a 3×3 Lastolite Skylite Rapid Diffuser…, which is very, very close to her face.

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