News Archive

Virginia Photojournalist Survives Suicide Bomb Attack In Mosul

 

Photojournalist Dean A. Hoffmeyer of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and reporter Jeremy Redmon survived an explosion in a military chow-hall tent at Forward Operating Base Marez, in the northern Iraq city of Mosul, on Tuesday, December 21st. The Pentagon said the blast killed 22 people, including 13 U.S. troops, five civilian contractors and four Iraqis. As many as 70 others were wounded. Initial reports said the explosion was the result of a rocket attack, but military officials now believe the blast was caused by a suicide bomber wearing an Iraiqi military uniform who infiltrated the mess hall.

The two Times-Dispatch journalists are accompanying the Richmond-based 276th Engineer Battalion of the Virginia National Guard and they had been embedded with the unit for only a few days when the attack came. Six soldiers from the 276th were among the blast’s casualties; two were killed and four are being treated for injuries.

Reports in the Times-Dispatch said Hoffmeyer and Redmon, who were not inured, were just sitting down for dinner with the troops when the blast occurred. Hoffmeyer’s photographs show the immediate aftermath of the bomb, scenes of troops carrying wounded soldiers off the floor, and soldiers using tabletops as stretchers to evacuate the seriously injured. Sunlight streams through the smoky scene from large holes ripped in the tent’s roof by the force of the explosion. His pictures also show about a dozen soldiers in the background working with the wounded and the breadth of the destruction caused by the bomb.

Hoffmeyer’s exclusive photographs, distributed by the Associated Press, carried the front pages of nearly every American newspaper on the day after the attack, as well as illustrating many news reports across the Internet.

In addition to their exclusive news value, many military families were anxious to see Hoffmeyer's photographs. A story in the Rapid City Journal tells how a South Dakota family learned their soldier son, Wayne Shepardson, was alive and uninjured following the attack when they saw Hoffmeyer’s images online. In the pictures they could see that Shepardson was assisting his wounded comrades.

Trisha Ralston in Hinesville, GA, also saw Hoffmeyer’s photographs online and recognized her fiancé as one of the soldiers in the bomb-damaged tent. She wrote an eMail to the editor ofNews Photographermagazine: "I’m writing regarding the photographs that photojournalist Dean A. Hoffmeyer of theRichmond Times-Dispatchreleased after the blast in Mosul. I saw the photograph of two soldiers helping a wounded solider. My fiancé is the solider on the right. I saw this picture and knew that he was okay. I had not heard from him, and this was my reassurance after seeing the picture."

Ralston, who is a third-grade teacher at Button Gwinnett Elementary School, wrote, "This is my fiancé’s second tour in Iraq. Since he’s been over there he also was hit with a car bomb and suffered minor injuries. First he was there with the 3ID 3/7 Infantry from Ft. Stewart, GA, and now he’s with the BCO 1/5 Infantry out of Ft. Lewis, WA. As you can imagine, this is a challenging time knowing that the person you love is over there serving his country and risking his life everyday."

"Because I am a teacher, and we knew he was going to be deployed back (to Iraq), I didn’t want to start all over and to be alone in a new place. So before he left, he was at Ft. Lewis and I was still in Georgia (at Ft. Stewart). We were not able to get married. This is just another set-back that added to our lists of disappointments. So we will have to wait until he gets mid-tour leave or comes back after his tour. It’s so hard having our two-year-old son who carries a picture of his Daddy and I around. He points to the picture saying, 'Mommy' and 'Daddy,' but his Daddy is gone. I saw the picture (by Hoffmeyer) but I couldn’t show him this one. This is something a 2-year-old would not understand."

Ralston ended her note, "I want to tell Mr. Hoffmeyer thank you for reassuring me and the rest of his family that my fiancé was okay. His name is Sgt. Wendel Jack."

Hoffmeyer has been a staff photojournalist at the Times-Dispatch since 1996, the same year he joined NPPA. Redmon, who normally covers the City Hall government beat for the newspaper, has been with theTimes-Dispatchfor five years. Previously he worked forThe Washington TimesandThe Journalnewspapers in the Washington, DC, area. Hoffmeyer’s photographs and Redmon’s stories, along with audio and video reports, are online here.

Photograph courtesy of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

 

 

 

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Dan J. Fager, 86, NPPA Life Member

Dan J. Fager, 86, a longtime Tampa Bay, FL, area news photographer and NPPA life member, died December 22, 2004 in Tampa, FL. He joined the NPPA in 1955 when he was the assistant chief photographer for The Tampa Daily Times, and over the years he was an active NPPA member and a leader in Region 6. At different times Fager served in Region 6 as a director, an associate director, and as the region's secretary and treasurer. For more than four decades his photographs appeared in The Tampa Tribune and The Tampa Daily Times. He retired from the Tribune in 1984.

In 1959 Fager received NPPA’s Samuel Mellor Award, which is given to the regional associate director judged most outstanding in the performance of their duties, and in 1962 he was given the NPPA President's Award. He was also the recipient of the Burt Williams Award, which honors those with more than 40 years of service to the profession of photojournalism.

The Tampa Tribune reports that Fager came to Florida from his native Cincinnati, OH, in 1932 and worked for the Tribune from 1938 to 1950. During World War II he was an Army Air Forces photographer. The newspaper said Fager was a commercial photographer for four years until he joined The Tampa Daily Times in 1954, becoming the chief photographer in 1956.

Fager is survived by two children, Jimmie and Robin. Services are planned for Thursday, December 30 at 7:30 p.m. at Palma Ceia Christian Church, 3516 Bay to Bay Boulevard, Tampa, FL.

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Chinese Photojournalism Contest Invites American Participation

China's Photojournalists Society (CPS) is sponsoring the first annual China International Press Photo Contest on the theme "Peace and Development." CPS says the competition is the first and largest of its kind to be held in China and invites professional photojournalists entering the contest to "create a visual record of 2004 focusing on the challenges and struggles for a peaceful and prosperous world." The winning photographs in seven categories, picked by an international jury, carry cash awards and the pictures will be printed in a yearbook and featured in a traveling exhibit, the announcement says.

James Zeng-Huang, a picture editor for China Features for Corbis in Beijing who studied photojournalism at Syracuse University in New York, encourages American photojournalists to enter the contest. "There is no entry fee, but you could win a big prize," he said. Each category will have two Gold Prizes for the Singles and Portfolio categories, along with 100 honorable mention awards. "Photo Of The Year" is a cash prize of RMB 60,000.00 (approximately $7,200 USD) and a round-trip flight to China, and the 14 Gold Prizes are a cash award of RMB 10,000 (approximately $1,200 USD).

"There have been many changes in the photographic industry in the past twenty years in China, especially in photojournalism," Zeng-Huang wrote. "I was an NPPA member when I attended the photojournalism program at Syracuse University from 1987 to 1992 and I may be the first one to introduce NPPA and its annual Best Of Photojournalism competition to China."

Judging the photographs will be an international panel of photojournalists, picture editors, photography critics and journalism scholars from France, the Netherlands, Russia, Japan, Singapore, China, and the United States. CPS says the jury will include Robert Pledge, the president of Contact Press Images, and Jim Dooley, formerly the assistant managing editor for photography at Newsday in New York.

The contest is open to photojournalists who work for news agencies, journals, newspapers and photographic agencies and there is no entry fee. CPS says that freelancers can enter the contest if the entry is accompanied by "professional certificates or a documentary letter from an official press photo organization." Photographs for the contest must have been shot and published in 2004.

The deadline for entering the contest is February 15, 2005. "The date of the postmark on the envelope containing the entries will be regarded as the date of entry," Zeng-Huang said. "No entries will be accepted that are postmarked after that date."

"Peace and Development" is sponsored by the Shenzhen Press Group and the Shenzhen Association for International Cultural Exchanges. Complete information and entry forms can be found online at http://www.chipp.cn/emain.asp.

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Haraz Ghanbari Is NPPA's National Student Photographer Of The Year

By Elaine Laps

KENT, OHIO – At the age of 15, an old Minolta Maximum 7000 was his camera of choice, but only because it was all he could afford and Grandpa would accept installments.

The first pictures came back blurry, too dark or too bright.

But the young man kept going, and this year Haraz Ghanbari, graduate of Kent State University, is the National Press Photographers Association’s National Student Photographer of the Year. The award tops an already impressive list for Ghanbari, including last year’s Ohio News Photographers Association’s Student Photographer of the Year.

The eight-year journey from blurry to award-winning photography has been documented every step of the way. Ghanbari has gathered so many clippings from freelancing for local papers to interning for the Associated Press that it would take a long, rainy day just to flick through them all.

As it should, each picture tells a story — and as a collective group, the pictures show that Ghanbari has experienced more than the average 23-year-old.

"I’ve been around the block a few times," Ghanbari said. "In this business you’re exposed to a lot of things and it eventually gets to you."

From fatal crashes to house fires that claimed lives to capturing people burying their loved ones, Ghanbari has been there camera in hand. Experience has taught him that the value of a good picture is not just in the graphics, but in the emotion captured.

"I use my camera to connect to my subject — like a catalyst for human emotion," Ghanbari said. "Some people treat their subjects as objects, but I like to think I’m at least compassionate toward mine."

Growing up, Ghanbari used to watch tapes of journalistic photography with his father, also an awarding-winning photojournalist, and sometimes he would see his father cry as the images played on screen. As a child he wondered why, but as a man entering the professional world of photojournalism he empathizes.

"Sometimes when I’m taking pictures of families who are sad and crying, a tear will roll down my cheek," Ghanbari said. "This job takes a certain type of person."

As well as working for AP and The New York Times, Ghanbari has worked as a military journalist. He signed up for the Ohio National Guard at the age of 17 and in 2001 spent six months in Bosnia as the official photographer for a two-star Army general.

Whether it’s his military training, his father’s influence, or his passion for capturing pictures that cause people to think, Ghanbari will stop at nothing to get the best shot.

At 15 he rode his bicycle to the scene of a crash on the interstate by his house, jumped the fence, and boldly told the police he was with the press. This past summer while covering the trial of the Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph, he broke away from the herded media, set up his tripod on top of his car on the other side of the street, and captured the shot of the day.

"Editors don’t want to hear excuses of why you didn’t get the picture — they want to see the picture," Ghanbari said. "That motivates me."

As a graduate fresh out of Kent State, Ghanbari knows he has a lot more to learn, and he appreciates the freedom his professors gave him to learn through experience.

"My professors were receptive to my last-minute calls telling them that I had to miss class because The New York Times needed me," Ghanbari said. "They realize that completing an assignment in the field is more than I’ll learn in a classroom."

Although he has a wealth of experience and fine tutoring, Ghanbari still believes that he is not above unfavorable assignments. "You learn being a grunt, you learn getting crappy assignments, and you learn getting great assignments," he said. "I’m still young. I still have a lot to learn."

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Photographic Auction Benefits Amnesty International

By Huub G.M. Kohnen

WAARDER, THE NETHERLANDS — A photography benefit auction for Amnesty International, conducted in late November at Sotheby's in Amsterdam, generated profits of $301,627 from the prints of famous and well-known photographers. Hundreds of people in the salesroom, on the phone, and via bids in writing were responsible for the results. The idea for all this started two years ago and then got wide and global support from Magnum Photos, AIPAD dealers, collectors, a frame shop, a printing house, a transport company, and photographers and photojournalists from all over the world. Sotheby's Amsterdam embraced the initiative and the Netherlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam held an exhibit of the work.

Slightly delayed because of bidders who had to be pre-registered, the first lot was offered. A 13x10" silver print of a 1930s Manhattan street scene (printed 1960s) by Berenice Abbott (1898-1991), signed and with the photographer’s stamp on the back, changed hands for $1,720. Diane Arbus's picture "Soothsayer Madame Sandra, California 1963, print 5 of 75," printed later by Neil Selkirk and donated by the Jeffrey Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco, sold for $5,300. Two Cibachrome prints approximately 15x22.3" shot by Bruno Barbey in Morocco were sold exactly in the estimate range of values ($1,457 and $1,855). Bill Brandt's "Gulls Nest" (1947), a 9.8x11.4" silver print, was sold for $1,987. Number 11 of Burtinsky's series on Chittagong Shipbreaking in Bangladesh did well ($4,239). A salt print by Roger Fenton of the demolished Balaklava post office in 1855, first published by T. Agnes & Sons, London, November 19, 1855, was donated by Weston Gallery and Hans P. Kraus Jr. of New York. It changed hands for $1,457.

Next sold were two icons, both personal gifts from the photographers: Stuart Franklin's photograph of the Tiananmen Square resistance and Leonard Freed’s photograph of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the back of a convertible in Baltimore in 1964 ($2,914 and $3,974). A large silver print by Belgian Magnum photographer Carl de Keyzer from his series "God Inc." sold for $1,060. Peter Martens (d. 1992), who extensively covered the homeless in New York in the 1960s, was represented by three silver gelatine pictures of Lagos and East Turkey donated by the Peter Martens Foundation; they sold for $1,325 each. Although she "tried very hard" for a higher price, the auctioneer had to accept an offer for Steve McCurry's signed and dated splendid lambda print (16.9x11") of a Tibetan girl wearing traditional jewellery for $1,722.

An advertising picture, a silver print by Norman Parkinson shot on assignment for J. Walter Thompson, of a "Duchess Being Robbed While Indulging in Creamy Cornet" (1959), which was a gift of the Angela Williams Archive, sold for only $928. James Nachtwey donated three inkjet prints, signed in ink, from his reportage in Baghdad and a photo studio in Kabul, which sold for $1,259 and $1,325.

The sale showed that names don't guarantee success. Weegee was with us in three silver prints from various private gifts that raised $1,457 to $2,252, selling in or slightly above their estimated ranges, while "The Buzzclub, Liverpool, March 3, 1995" from Rineke Dijkstra sold for $15,985.

Huub G.M. Kohnen is a photojournalist in The Netherlands.

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Missouri Grad Students Learn From CPOY Mock Judging

By Ryan Fagan, Shana Lynch and Ali Ryan

COLUMBIA, MO. — Pictures are pretty. They're emotional, intense and sometimes a bit amusing. But mostly, they're pretty. At least, that's what we thought.

We are graduate students in the University of Missouri's School of Journalism who are taking a class in visual communication. We are writers and advertisers. We appreciate pictures, but we are certainly not photographers. Nor are we qualified to critique one of the premier competitions in the country, the College Photographer of the Year contest.

Founded in 1945, the event honors the best student photojournalists in the country. The contest is hosted by Missouri and Kappa Alpha Mu, an honorary photojournalism society, and more than 250 students from more than 50 universities compete each year. (Note: CPOY is also sponsored by the National Press Photographers Foundation. The NPPF Booster Club provides the $1,000 Col. William Lookadoo award and the $500 Milton Freier award.) CPOY selects a panel of four judges, award-winning professionals who donate their time and knowledge to help recognize up-and-coming student photographers, and recognizes outstanding work of students currently working toward a degree. It's the real-deal Holyfield.

Yet, there we were.

This semester has taught us that pictures are more than just pretty, they're also meticulously composed, technically involved and masterfully complete. We are learning how terms such as Rule of Thirds, color saturation and story flow apply to the photographic process. We can even use them in a conversation so we sound smart. In theory, at least.

Now these three non-photography journalism grad students were going to put our book-learning to the test. As the graduate component of the class, we were mock judging the CPOY contest. We were excited, we were a bit intimidated. Our big fear was that all of our finalists would be cut by the real judges in the first round. That would be embarrassing. Not too surprising, but embarrassing.

Tucker Forum was set up to look like the bridge of some spacecraft in a Star Trek movie. Four chairs sat center stage, surrounded by computers and mechanisms designed to make the judging process run efficiently. But even in the empty room and laid-back atmosphere, we felt a bit out of place.

And we, of course, made amateur moves. We judged the spot news category, which had a total of 167 photographs. After round one, we still had 97. We were often drawn to images that seemed impressive at first ­ grand fires erupting from buildings, violent scenes -­ and had a difficult time understanding that these images were often clichéd.

But after our nervousness wore off and the soothing rhythm of the process took over, we got the hang of it. We narrowed the large number to 63, then narrowed further as we discussed technical issues, the definition of spot news, the level of difficulty the photographer went through to get the shot. We argued over whether the important content of looters chased by police overcame a black-and-white image with poor contrast. We debated whether a humorous photograph of a cow at someone's front door was worthy of an award simply because it made us laugh each time we saw it. We discussed which of the myriad fire images was worth bringing to the final round after realizing how many were clichéd images.

Despite our reluctance to disqualify images, our final round showed a series of strong photographs. Without needing to discuss it whatsoever, we gave first place to a beautiful image of an illegal immigrant caught by the spotlight of border patrol. We all recognized the superb black-and-white image portraying the intimacy of fear and defeat in the man's expression and body posture. Second place went to a grisly and terrifying image of a murdered man surrounded by onlookers in Port au Prince.

Our third-place winner involved a bit more debate; we chose an image of firefighters spraying a house to protect it from impending fire while a group of children looked out from the house's front window. We agreed that the children's faces peering out made this a wonderful image, but that at first glance, most of us hadn't seen the children. Was it still worthy of a placing? After some debate, we thought so.

We gave more honorable mentions than most professional judges might. We awarded an image of a field sobriety test that we were drawn to for its beautiful light, a photograph of a street gang, a young man wading his bicycle through a monsoon, and a group of protestors fighting with police. We also awarded an image of a man with a machete guarding a gate in Port au Prince where the photograph's subject had been swinging a machete at the photographer. For us, it seems, the danger of taking the image increased the quality of the image.

After we judged the images, we looked forward to the real judging that would take place the next day. What had we missed that professionals would see? Would any of our images place?

The following day, nothing looked different in the room. Same science-fiction lighting. Same voting buzzers. Same fiddly headsets that recorded every word the judges spoke. But the feel of the room had changed. This wasn't just an exercise. This time, three of the photographs would garner CPOY medal recognition. And this time, there was nothing we could do to sway the outcome. We sat quietly in the back row as photography professionals Teri Boyd, Lynn Johnson, Fred Sweets and Chris Wilkins judged the images we'd seen a mere 24-hours before.

The professionals efficiently whipped through round one and knocked out 135 images, including three of our honorable mentions: the bicycle monsoon, the street gang, and the machete-wielding Port-au-Prince guard. But they kept the cow photograph -- laughing every time it appeared, even though, as one of the judges put it, "it'll never make the final cut" -- and five of the images that had made it to our prize round.

Our egos took a blow in round two as our second-place finisher, the startling image of a murdered man in Port au Prince, was eliminated. Groan. The gorgeous sobriety test shot also went out, but the loss of one of our honorable mentions didn't sting nearly as much as the loss of a placer.

But we still had three contenders, the immigrant, the protest, and the near-burning house with the children in the window, as the judges began the final round. We sat up a little straighter and listened intently as the interesting part, and the hard part, began. "The difficult part of judging is when you've gotten down to several really good images," says Boyd, the visual project director for the Comer Foundation. "They might be on the same level, but for different reasons, and this is where you have to bring in other factors about the images to see which one will rise above the other."

As the judges began to talk, we recognized much of what they were saying because we'd been exploring the same ideas in our discussions the day before. They too wondered if the children in the window of the endangered house were too subtle. They sparred over whether at least one spot news winner should be an active shot. They noticed the lack of contrast, of pop, in the photo of looters fleeing a warehouse. They wavered, as we had, between putting the shot of the protesters in third place (which they eventually did) or selecting the house fire.

Just as it had with us, the photograph of the illegal immigrant went into the first place spot and stayed there. No discussion. No objection. The image was so personal, so visceral, says Johnson, freelance photojournalist and Sports Illustrated staff photographer, that the connection was immediate. "When you can feel some common ground with the person in the image, a lot of other parameters just drop away," she says. "It lets you in."

But the judges' second-place selection, a complex, layered shot of a motorbike accident scene, was one we'd outed early in the second round. Most of us barely remembered seeing it. Officers held up a white sheet in the background to block a body from view. Friends of the rider killed sat on a guardrail at roadside. A motorbike and an ambulance were prominent at the front of the frame. Johnson was the image's biggest supporter, and, she says, articulating what it was she saw in the shot became a personal and professional challenge. "I immediately connected to that photo," she says. "I think it was because it felt different. It was not a classic, expected image." And, she says, it wasn't a typical accident shot. "It had so many layers," she says. "It required something of the viewer. There was nothing in it to romance you. It was a much more subtle image." Wilkins, a picture editor at the Dallas Morning News, seconds the subtlety. "I later met the photographer and he was amazed it won anything," he says. "That's the beauty of photography, a single picture can say many different things to different people."

Still, we aren't chiding ourselves too roughly. Three of our images did make the final round, and our first-place selection was dead on. Does this mean the four of us should sack our writing, editing and advertising interests to pursue our obvious talent as photography contest judges? Well -- maybe not just yet. "I would imagine that your reasons for your choices were different than ours, even though the outcome was the same," Boyd says. "In a contest like this, the better images really do stand out above others, and that may be an explanation as to why our results were so similar."

And after all, the judges say, the process is inherently subjective. "After 20 years in the business, I still am amazed at the lack of consistency in contests," says Wilkins. "There have been many Pulitzer winners that didn't even place in POY, and also World Press grand prize winners that came up empty in POY." It's important to remember, Johnson says, that the results do hinge on the judges. "It's just one person, or two people, or three," she says. "It's not a voice on high. Even though I have 25 to 30 years of experience, it's still my perspective. It's my standard."

Maybe the most important thing we take from the experience is the same thing we'll take from the visual communication class -- the ability to talk intelligently about photographs. "The process of talking about it is valuable," Johnson says. "It really helps you, as a visual professional, become clear about what you think a quality image is -- what moves me. What inspires me."

Well, we did figure out what inspired us. But if the CPOY judges need any help next fall, they know where to find us.


(Editor's note: College Photographer of the Year Rick Gershon, from the University of North Texas, is the cover story of the January issue of News Photographer magazine.)

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Richard Avedon, 81, Dies Following A Cerebral Hemorrhage In Texas

SAN ANTONIO, TX - Richard Avedon, 81, the famous American fashion and portrait photographer, died today at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio six days after he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage while shooting an assignment for The New Yorker magazine in Texas. A spokesperson for the magazine, Perri Dorset, said Avedon was shooting "a large essay on democracy" that was slated as a November presidential election piece for the magazine, and that he had been working on the project around the country for some time.

Avedon, who lived in Manhattan, fell ill last Saturday while working on the assignment and has been in critical and guarded condition in the hospital since then.

He was the first staff photographer for The New Yorker, starting in 1992 under then-editor Tina Brown. For more than 50 years his portraits have filled the pages of major magazines, and he's considered by most to be one of the world's premier portrait photographers. His photographic style has nearly always been "minimalist," with the subject making eye contact, against a white backdrop, and very well illuminated. The result is often a highly intimate portrait, where the subject appears to be interacting more with the intensity of the photographer than with the camera. His portraits today continue to be as stunning as his earlier work and to garner the nation's attention. His photograph in this week's issue of The New Yorker of Teresa Heinz Kerry, accompanying Judith Thurman's profile of her titled, "The Candidate's Wife," has been widely described as "glamorous."

In 2003 when Avedon was 80, he spoke along with Laura Wilson to a gathering of students at the University of Texas in Austin at the Harry Ransom Center, a rare Avedon appearance to promote the publication of Wilson's new book, Avedon at Work: In the American West. During the early 1980s as Avedon traveled the West taking photographs of ordinary people, Wilson, herself an accomplished photojournalist and writer, traveled with him for nearly six years documenting his making of what turned out to be a milestone project in Avedon's already-famous career. The Amon Carter Museum of Fort Worth, TX, commissioned Avedon in 1979 to create the body of portrait work for an exhibit.

Wilson had been one of a handful of people present at a dinner party in Texas with Avedon when the idea for In The American West was proposed; in the following days she wrote Avedon a letter declaring her interest in helping if he decided to accept the project. When he got her letter, she told the audience, he called her immediately. They then spent the next five summers trolling the backroads and plains of the jagged Western range in search of the faces of the land, in a station wagon with two assistants and an 8x10 Deardorff view camera, a cumbersome and lumbering tool that demands precision and multiple assistants and all but eliminates mobile spontaneity — but it was the portrait camera of choice for Avedon after he switched from his Rolleiflex in the late 1960s. Wilson watched the watcher, documenting Avedon at work as he found, photographed, and built an unprecedented body of work across the countryside. Her photographs and observations make up Avedon at Work: In the American West.

Avedon spoke to the standing-room-only gathering of UT students that night after a brief slideshow of his images from Wilson's book. Looking into the eyes of the everyday people he photographed for In The American West — the drifters and oil field workers and ranch hands he found by driving the West's back roads and photographed against a white seamless backdrop taped to a shed or barn's side — it was clear that these subjects had the same intense relationship with Avedon, however brief and unexpected, as did Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, the Duchess of Windsor, Charlie Chaplin, and legions of other celebrities and fashion models in his Upper Eastside Manhattan studio. "I remember each one of them," the photographer replied to a student's question.

The editor of News Photographer magazine, Donald Winslow, sat next to Avedon in the Ransom Center auditorium that November night before the photographer was introduced and took the stage. When he was introduced, Avedon said beneath the sound of applause, "This may be my last trip to Texas — heck, it might be my last trip out of New York for all I know." After the evening's presentation, and Avedon's book signing for the many students who stood in the long line to see him, Winslow wrote this note about the experience of meeting and observing Avedon:

"At 80 years old, Richard Avedon appears to have more energy than almost everyone I know who is half his age or younger. The intensity of his presence is such a visible force that even while he's seated in a chair on stage lecturing more than 300 students and visitors in an overflowing auditorium, Avedon just cannot sit still. As he reaches the apex of an anecdote or when answering an audience question, it's as if he levitates from the seat to project his words all the way to the back row. Energy overflows from him and fills the room; his animation is sublime. If someone never understood it before, it's now very clear that one of the many reasons that Richard Avedon is one of the most successful and admired portrait photographers of our time, aside from the breadth of his talent and a deeply intellectual understanding of his craft, is simply the awesome intensity of his being. To interact with this man, even just by being in the same room, is to be captivated by his personality, even seated rows away in a crowded lecture hall. One can only imagine the degree of intensity that must emanate from Avedon to anyone who is a subject before his camera; it is impossible to not be fully engaged and captivated by this man's personality, even in a crowd, even as a stranger, as simply an observer. If this is his strength at 80 years old, how overwhelming must have been his sway years before?"

Avedon was born in New York City in 1923 and went to De Witt Clinton High School and in 1941 attended Columbia University. He served in the U.S. Merchant Marines photographic section from 1942 to 1944. After the service he went to work in a department store, and after a couple of years he was "discovered" by an art director. The young photographer's work started appearing in Look, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and other magazines.

He started as a staff photographer at Harper's Bazaar in 1945 and only two years later made his mark as a fashion photographer of note covering the French collections in Paris for that magazine and for Vogue. Avedon was named "one of the world's ten greatest photographers" in 1958 by Popular Photography magazine, and in 1962 the Smithsonian Institute curated the exhibition, "Richard Avedon."

His book Avedon: Photographs 1947-1977 was published in 1978 and coincided with a major exhibition in the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA, and the Isetan Museum in Tokyo. In 1993 he was awarded the International Center of Photography's Master of Photography medal. In 2001 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2003 he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American for the Arts, National Arts Award.

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MTA Still Wants To Ban NYC Subway Photos

By Mickey H. Osterreicher, Esq.

On May 20, 2004, New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) proposed a ban on photography and videotaping on buses and subways as a terrorism-prevention measure. The new policy, if approved, would make photography on the historic subway system punishable by a $25 fine and/or up to 10 days in prison. Journalists could get exemptions with New York City Police Department press credentials or permission, but there is no appeals process for anyone denied such permission.

In that same month the NPPA Advocacy Committee, which was created in November 2003 to promote awareness and timely responses to issues threatening news photographers, issued a statement opposing the measure. The NPPA was joined by the Society for Professional Journalists, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the Radio-Television News Directors Association, and the New York Press Photographers Association.

On September 8, 2004, the NPPA, through its attorney Kurt Wimmer of Covington & Burling, submitted a legal brief to the MTA opposing the proposed ban. In that formal legal document, presented as part of the public comment period, NPPA stated that MTA’s proposed photography ban would "significantly hinder the press’s ability to report on newsworthy events that occur on NYCTA property." The ban itself is unconstitutional, NPPA argued, when reviewed against the requirements of the First Amendment. Part of the NPPA’s opposition was the rule’s alleged exception for photography by credentialed journalists. According to the New York City Police Department, the press credential application process "takes approximately 3 to 4 weeks" to complete, making that exception a moot point for anyone wishing to take a picture in the decisive moment.

Less than a week later the New York Daily News reported that "officials are backing off from plans for a total ban on photography in the subway system." While the MTA stated that "the measure was aimed at preventing terrorists from gathering information," some officials there believed that "a total ban may not be enforceable" and were "working on crafting a more limited restriction."

In late November, just when everyone thought it was safe to take his or her camera back into the subway, the MTA posted the subway ban in the rule changes register beginning the "official" comment period despite its earlier statement. That comment period will end on January 10, 2005. It is widely believed that the MTA chose the holiday season as a time when people had better things to do than post comments in opposition to such a ban.

"The First Amendment protects expression by all photographers, whether photojournalists or not," NPPA said in its statement. "Because the proposed rule severely restricts the right to take pictures on NYCTA property thereby infringing a photographer’s freedom of expression -- it violates the First Amendment."

"This is part of a disturbing trend by government entities which has led to increased harassment of photographers engaging in perfectly legal activity," said Alicia Wagner Calzada, NPPA vice president and Advocacy Committee chair. "Without real solutions, officials and police are turning to efforts that will limit free press and free expression, but have no real effect in the fight against terror."

For more information or to view the discussion list about the rule change, go to http://www.subchat.com/read.asp?Id=22870.

Osterreicher, now a lawyer in Buffalo, NY, and an NPPA member since 1972, is a member of the Advocacy Committee. He’s been a photojournalist for more than 30 years, including at WKBW-TV7. He can be reached at [email protected]

UPDATE: Todd Maisel, the NPPA associate director for Region 2 and a staff photojournalist for the New York Daily News, wrote an Op/Ed article on the status of the proposed photography ban and its implications in the December 31, 2004, issue of the Daily News.

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Photojournalism Icon Eddie Adams, 71, Dies Sunday From Lou Gehrig's Disease

NEW YORK, NY —EddieAdams, who won a Pulitzer prize for his 1968 image of the summary execution of a Vietcong guerrilla in a Saigon street, died Sunday morning September 19 at his Manhattan home and studio. He was 71. His family was with him when he died, said Jessica Stuart, a producer for The Eddie Adams Workshop, and funeral services will be private. Stuart also said that plans are being made for a memorial service late October; details for the memorial will be announced shortly.

Diagnosed in May with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's disease, Adams spent his final months collecting and organizing his photographs, sitting at a PowerBook in his studio writing, visiting at his Bathhouse Studio with friends and photojournalists who came to show their support, and making plans for the Eddie Adams "Barnstorm" annual workshop to continue after his death.

"The upcoming workshop will go on as planned, that's what Eddie wanted," Stuart said Monday. The Columbus Day-weekend event will be the 17th year for the popular seminar held at his farm near Jeffersonville in upstate New York.

"We have lost Eddie, and we have lost a good one," saidHalBuell, former photography director for the Associated Press and author of the bookMoments: Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographs. "He is remembered by most as the photographer who made that 'great photo that helped end the Vietnam War. ... You know, the one where a guy shoots another guy.' Well, he did make that picture, but Eddie Adams was no one-trick pony. He also had a great feel for the photographic narrative. Five of his pictures on a single subject told you more than five pictures' worth; the total was always greater than the sum of the parts.

"Eddie's main strength was that he had no agenda, no angle save that of doing first class photojournalism ... honest photojournalism, straightforward and to the point," Buell said, remembering the more than four decades that he and Adams worked together. "I first met Eddie when I returned from a stint of duty for AP in Asia. He was newly hired to work in the New York bureau. Eddie's talent was immediately obvious. He had a way of taking an idea an editor would suggest and building upon it, making it more than an idea or a suggestion. He made it a picture."

Born Edward T. Adams on June 12, 1933, in New Kensington, PA, he was a combat photographer in the Korean War while serving in the United States Marine Corps. Adams worked for the Associated Press twice: first from 1962 to 1972, and again from 1976 until 1980. He also shot forTIMEand forParademagazine, where his photographs made up more than 350 of their covers. He also shot the Parade magazine covers each year for theJerryLewisMuscular Dystrophy Association Telethon issue. This year, shortly before his death, he worked on a video profile of himself that was featured on the 24-hour Labor Day Telethon to raise money for MDA. ALS is one of the diseases the charity drive raises funds to fight.

Adams won the Pulitzer Prize for news photography in 1969 for his February 1, 1968, photograph titled "Saigon Execution." It showsNguyen Ngoc Loan, a South Vietnamese General, shooting a bound Vietcong prisoner at point-blank range in a Saigon street. Loan was the director of South Vietnam's national police at the time, during the Tet Offensive. After shooting the man, Loan told journalists that the killing was justified, because the prisoner was a known Vietcong captain who had been seen killing others.

Adams may have been best known for his Vietnam photograph, but his career spanned coverage of 13 wars, as well as international politics, show business, and fashion for newspapers, wire services, and magazines. His work was recognized with more than 500 honors, including the 1978RobertCapaAward and three George Polk Memorial Awards for war coverage.

In his biography, Adams says that he is most proud of his 1979 photograph "Boat of No Smiles," depicting 50 Vietnamese on a 30-foot fishing boat fleeing their homeland. "It was such a dire time for them, not even the children on board could find pleasure in a boat ride," he wrote. It was this photograph that ultimately led Congress and President Jimmy Carter to open immigration to more than 200,000 Vietnamese refugees, Adams said.

He started his photography career as a high school student in New Kensington shooting weddings for $20, his biography says, before joining the staff of the New Kensington Daily Dispatch. He also shot for the Enquirer & News in Battle Creek, MI, and the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin. When Adams rejoined the Associated Press for the second time after freelancing forTIME, he was the first and only AP photographer to have the title "special correspondent." Later he had the same title with Parade magazine beginning in 1980.

Adams was especially proud of a photographic essay he created for Parade magazine in 1995, which he said contained "some of the most amazing, most beautiful children in America." One photograph of a 3-year-old girl with leukemia, shown clutching her security blanket, moved one woman so much that she started an organization, Project Linus, as a result.Karen Loucks'idea to provide security blankets made by volunteers to children seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need grew to more than 300 chapters of the nonprofit charity in the U.S. and abroad.

"Eddie was not an easy man, which led to my calling him Easy Ed, an affectionate name that lasted as we worked together, argued together, imbibed together (he was a poor imbiber), and agreed, most importantly, that nothing told a story like a good picture," Buell said. "He was hardest on himself; he was impossible with himself when a picture was missed or an opportunity unexplored to the ultimate limit. He was driven to fine photography and storytelling.

"Eddie's workshop was an idea and dream that became part of his ambition back further than most know. He always wanted to give back to the profession that gave him so much even in his early career. The success of the Workshop bears testimony to persistence and passion that he brought to every click of the shutter. So he called upon his friends and his contacts in the photo industry and the Eddie Adams Workshop became a reality for a generation and, we hope, for generations to come."

Adams is survived by his wife of 15 years, Alyssa Ann Adkins, and their son,August Everhett Adams, 14. He also has three adult children from a previous marriage:SusanAnnSinclairandEdward Adams II, both of Atlanta, andAmyMarieAdams, of Montclair, NJ. He's also survived by his 100-year-old mother, Adelaide Adams, and four sisters.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to a scholarship fund for the Eddie Adams Workshop. The Eddie Adams Scholarship Fund is in care of Jennifer Borg, North Jersey Media Group Foundation, 150 River Street, Hackensack, NJ, 07601.

 

 

 

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NPPA Files Legal Brief Opposing Subway Photography Ban

DURHAM, NC  — The National Press Photographers Association, through its attorney Kurt Wimmer of Covington & Burling, has submitted a legal brief to the Metropolitan Transit Authority of New York opposing the proposed photography ban on the New York subway system. The NPPA was joined by the Society for Professional Journalists, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, The Radio-Television New Directors Association, and the New York Press Photographers Association.

In recent days officials have backed off on the plan to totally ban photography on the transit system in order to review it more, saying that the measure may not be enforceable. Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said the original ban was proposed at the request of police, who wanted to prevent terrorists from gathering information on the system.

The NPPA has opposed the rule change since it was first suggested in May. The legal brief filed on September 8 is a formal legal document specifically connected to the public comment period. The proposed changes would ban all photography by uncredentialed photojournalists and other unauthorized individuals on all NYCT property. NPPA told MTA that its "proposed photography ban will significantly hinder the press's ability to report on newsworthy events that occur on NYCTA property. And when reviewed against the requirements of the First Amendment, the ban itself is unconstitutional." A key component of the NPPA's opposition is the rule's alleged exception for photography by credentialed journalists. While this recognizes the issue, it does not solve the problem.

First, news photographers cannot predict when breaking news will occur and, when news does break, may be unable to obtain the necessary credentials or authorization. According to the New York City Police Department, the press credential application process "takes approximately 3 to 4 weeks" to complete.

Second, even with the exceptions, the proposed rule is a prior restraint on newsgathering because it creates the opportunity for an MTA official to deny permission to photograph if he or she disapproves of a story, a media outlet, or an individual photojournalist. There is no mechanism for appeal of such a denial.

The NPPA believes in the right to free expression for all photographers, not just journalists. The First Amendment protects expression by all photographers, whether photojournalists or not. Because the proposed rule severely restricts the right to take pictures on NYCTA property ­ thereby infringing a photographer's freedom of expression ­ it violates the First Amendment.

Ironically, two men were arrested last month for plotting to attack the New York subway system. According to The New York Times, they were found with drawings of the entrances and exits subway system. This emphasizes that preventing photography would have little or no impact on someone who is determined to cause harm.

The NPPA, SPJ, RTNDA, RCFP and NYPPA urge the Metropolitan Transit Authority to reject the proposed photography ban. We again encourage our members and all interested members of the public to submit their comments to the MTA.

The full NPPA brief can be read as a .PDF file.

Contact NPPA vice president and Advocacy Committee chair Alicia Wagner-Calzada at [email protected] for more information.

 

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