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Bill Garrett – An Appreciation

By Cathy Newman

Bill Garrett, the former editor in chief of National Geographic, who died on August 13 at the age of 85, operated from gut instinct. Garrett, who raised the bar of documentary photography in the magazine higher and faster than anyone had before, had a simple mantra for his shooters: “f8 and be there.”

He ignored surveys and commands from on high, propelled by nothing other than his sometimes flawed, but indisputable, genius. “You could say he had both vision and cojones,” an admirer said. He was driven by the pursuit of excellence, gave short shrift to budgets and spent, it was said, a million dollars on a hologram cover that involved Steuben-made crystal globes (dozens were ordered), and photographer Bruce Dale’s technical wizardry to photograph it shattering to bits for a cover story in the December 1988 issue entitled “Can Man Save This Fragile Earth.”

Recruited as a picture editor in 1954, he marched up the ladder to Associate Editor, and along the way photographed and wrote two-dozen articles. When he was named editor on July 10, 1980, he was quoted as saying the magazine was like “motherhood and apple pie; you don’t fool around with it.”

He did, of course. He couldn’t help himself. Cocky, combative and stubborn, he loved smart, compelling ideas and people who could execute them, and pushed to extend the range of hard-charging subjects covered by the magazine. AIDS, for …

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Gold Mining in Ghana

Just two weeks ago I had the tremendous privilege of witnessing what can happen when a small, poor, and, in the eyes of the modern world, underdeveloped community confronts a large, multinational mining company. The small, remote and rural community of Tanchara, Ghana rejected an Australian gold mining operation and kicked that company off their lands. I learned about this and more while working on an eye-opening film project in Ghana, a small West African country, with the New Media Advocacy Project. This story takes place in Tanchara, which is near the border with Burkina Faso in the Upper Western region of Ghana. It is the story of a remote community that successfully repelled a huge, multinational gold mining company from exploiting their land and resources. Tanchara’s story is inspirational because it is a model for communities around the world to stand up to extractive companies who wish to profit from the exploitation and potential destruction of their land and ways of life.

Scenes in the village of Tanchara, Ghana between July 25-31, 2016.

Photo ©Ed Kashi/VII

Tanchara was guided through this process by a local NGO, CIKOD (Centre For Indigenous Knowledge & Organizational Development), which has created tools to help communities in Africa and around the world to mobilize when confronted with extractive industries who want to come onto their lands. CIKOD teaches these communities to use their cultural and environmental assets more effectively, which in turn allows them to manage and direct their own affairs without perpetually relying …

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Prix Mondial de l’image de montagne

“Il sentiero perduto” has been published in April 2015. Since then, we had an incredible success from both the readers and the book competitions. In 2015, “Il sentiero perduto” was among the finalists at the prestigious “Banff Mountain Book Competition”. Today, we are delighted to announce a new award for our latest book, the “Prix Mondial de l’image de montagne 2016”, from the international mountain book fair of Passy (France).

This is an honour for me as a photographer and it’s a great success for my wife Stéphanie as a little publisher.

 

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The Shinghal liberation

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Kurdistan Autonomous Region – Iraq, Shingal (Kurdish; Arabic : Sinjar)

Some dates are marked by the echoes of events that have impacted our human family and which I endeavor to bear witness to.

Today, two years after the capture of Shingal, I can hear the echo of the silent voices of thousands of Yazidi women who were abducted.

On August 3rd, 2014, the town of Shingal and its surrounding villages, mostly inhabited by Yazidis, were attacked by the Islamic State. More than 20.000 Yazidis had no other choice but to flee, in order to escape them. They cried for the 5.000 women who were abducted during the attack and were then forced to marry ISIS fighters to become their sex slaves.

On November 13th 2015, the town was freed from the Islamic State, mostly by the Kurdish people, including the Kurdish Peshmerga. Since then, some women have found their former homes while others found shelter in various associations.

They are now trying to take the long and intimate road that leads to inner reconstruction.…

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Anderson Ranch Advanced 3 Year Mentor Program

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The 2016 Anderson Ranch Advanced Workshop group at Anderson Ranch in Colorado.

I just completed a magical week at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center with Jim Estrin of The New York Times. We are co-teaching a three year Advanced Mentor Program with ‘the ranch.’ Jim and I will be mentoring 15 participants who range in ages and experience levels with photography, but who all share a passion for their projects and a keen desire to grow. They have become part of what has emerged as one of the most unique opportunities in the photo documentary world. The idea for this workshop was borne last year while Jim and I were co-teaching a one week workshop in Snowmass, Colorado, where Anderson Ranch is located. The opportunity to mentor photographers over an extended period of time was something that appealed to both of us.With the wisdom and support of Andrea Wallace, who is the director of the photography program at Anderson Ranch, our idea became a reality this past week.

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Jim Estrin, Andrea Wallace and Ed Kashi at Anderson Ranch.

There were more than 100 applicants to this program, but in the end we had to choose 15 candidates all of whom showed up in Colorado this past week. The variety of backgrounds in the chosen group is delightful: there is a former scientist from India who is now a photographer, two folks from Canada, an American living in Jakarta who …

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Forty Five Years On…

I sometimes wonder if our parents thought about time, and the passage of time, in the way we do. Though I can’t recall any conversations with my folks about it, I suspect they were more concerned with just trying to deal with the next day, week, or month, and didn’t have the time or inclination to ponder their aging world and how they fit into it. My whole adult life has been spent taking photographs, for the most part for magazines, as a story teller of the most-decidedly analogue variety. For most of the five decades I’ve been working, film and the necessities it demanded were part of the picture (literally!). But tonight after dinner, I had one of those moments when all of a sudden, the date gave me pause. It’s July 23, 2016, and being a former math major I started doing the obligatory backtracking, and realized that this week is the 45th anniversary of my first TIME Magazine cover story. Forty five years. It’s not Diamond, nor Silver, and probably not even Tin. But it might be The Plastic Stuff Film Cans Were Made From. Yeah, forty five. A man carries his mother through the rain to a refugee tent cover, W. Bengal That summer of 1971 I had been living in Saigon for the better part of a year, had more or less become one of the TIME photographers working that bureau, and that is when…

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“The Invisible Strobe” At PhotoPlus Expo

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Capturing quality images at high ISO’s has not only opened up new avenues for shooting in natural-light, it also has turned handheld strobes into powerful lighting tools. For more than twenty years, Gerd Ludwig has been a master of using small TTL-flashes in unusual and unpredictable ways – to emphasize his message, offer a sense of place, maintain atmosphere, and create a personal vision, while simultaneously avoiding the obvious “strobe” look. He will show a wide range of potential uses, from utilizing strobes at high-speed sync in broad daylight to enhancing extreme long exposures at night by firing the flash(es) multiple times. Throughout the lecture he will share his secrets and show examples both from his personal projects and his many years of photographing on assignment for National Geographic. Finally, Ludwig will share his secrets to surviving in today’s marketplace, using crowd-funding, social networking and new media to get personal projects financed and seen by a wider audience.

Sponsored by Canon USA, the 2-hour seminar takes place at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on Thursday, October 20th, from 2-4pm.

For more information and to register: http://www.photoplusexpo.com/conference/conference-schedule.shtml

PDN PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo is the most important event in the photo industry. Designed for professionals and advanced amateurs in the photographic and imaging industries, PDN PhotoPlus Expo showcases the latest advances in photography. Attendees are able to explore exhibits and attend a wide variety of photography and imaging seminars.…

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Human Rights Visual Storytelling

My political consciousness began to develop before I even knew what politics were. Growing up in New York in the 60s and 70s imbued me with a sense of social and political justice. It was in the air, the music and the culture of that time. Once I decided that storytelling was my future, it was only a matter of time before I discovered that photography could be fused with the great traditions of social justice and the raising of political awareness. I became aware of the power that images and stories can have, and I quickly found examples of this: either the early work of Jacob Riis or the more contemporary work of Eugene Smith, particularly his ‘Minamata’ project, Philip Jones Griffiths’ work on Vietnam Inc or Eugene Richards’ Cocaine True Cocaine Blue.

Despite having found what I wanted to do in the work of others, it took many years for me to understand how to harness this ability and power within my own work. From my early photographs of the Kurdish struggle for independence to more recent work on the enduring impact of Agent Orange, my commitment to journalism that can make a difference has become one of the central driving forces in my life.

Striving to tell impactful stories is not possible without strong partners. Working with organizations like OSF, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Oxfam and International Medical Corps, is how our

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Sigma 24mm f 1.4 Review… Stephen Alvarez

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Gullfoss, Iceland

ISO 500, f 5.6 1/500 sec Canon 5D MK III

Every photographer has a way that they see. A type of light, a subject and sometimes a lens type that they just see best in. As far as the lens goes my go to has always been a 24mm. No matter if I am shooting a cave or a cathedral, the 24 is just the way my eye works. Of course I use lenses both longer or wider but if I have to chooses just one it is the trusty 24.

Now I am a big fan of the Sigma Art lenses. The Art 50mm f 1.4 is one of the best “normal’ lenses out there. It is certainly the best 50mm I have ever owned so I was happy when Sigma asked me to take a look at their Art series 24mm f 1.4.

Like the Art 50mm, the build quality of the lens it great. It actually feels more substantial than the Canon 24 1.4 I previously owned. It is heavy but also seems like it will put up with years of professional use.

Optically the lens is also very good. I’ve been shooting it lately on the Canon 5Ds. That camera’s 50 megapixel sensor is a challenge for any lens and the sigma 24mm art is up the challenge.

My previous 24mm f 1.4 was a Canon and this Sigma is a better lens. At …

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MY SUMMER OF 1990

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It seems I’m back to the obituaries again. Around two weeks ago I read in the Washington Post and the New York Times about the passing of journalist David Lamb at age 76. A long time foreign correspondent for the Los Angles Times and author of numerous books, Lamb was the reason I was able to spend the summer of 1990 going to baseball games.

Early that year a picture editor at National Geographic had met Lamb at a cocktail party in Washington, D.C and heard that Lamb had taken a sabbatical from his newspaper job and was crossing the country in a used mobile home in order to write Stolen Season, a book about baseball’s minor leagues. Lamb would eventually travel 16,000 miles in his research for the book. The picture editor who’d attended the cocktail party suggested to the Geographic’s story committee that a magazine article could be done about the minor leagues to be written by Lamb and they agreed.

When the magazine decided to do a minor leagues story I was in some hotel room–just where I don’t now remember–and I got a call from National Geographic’s director of photography, Tom Kennedy. I wasn’t on staff at that time, I was freelancing and was one of a number of photographers contracted by Geographic for a predetermined amount of days. But I didn’t at that time have an assignment and that always made me nervous because I …

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