Tag Archives: Rome

A Year of Photographers in the Picture

A little shy of a year agowith the world’s attention focused on a change of power in North Koreaa photo of Kim Jung Il’s funeral, released by KCNA (North Korean Central News Agency), sparked controversy. The image had been manipulatedless for overt political ends, more for visual harmony. Blog Submission . The photo’s offending elements, photoshopped from the image, were not political adversaries or top secret information, but a group of photographers who had disturbed the aesthetic order of the highly orchestrated and meticulously planned occasion.

KCNA/Reuters

Dec. 28, 2011. A limousine carrying a portrait of late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il leads his funeral procession in Pyongyang.

In an age where seemingly every occasion is documented through photography from every conceivable anglean estimated 380 billion photographs will be taken this year aloneit’s not only North Korean bureaucrats who are wrestling to keep hoards of other photographers out of their pictures.

Photographers frequently appear in news photographs made by others. Banks of cameras greet celebrities and public figures at every event; cell phones held high by admirers become a tribute in lights, but a distraction to the viewer. Amateurs and professionals, alike, appear in backgrounds and in foregrounds of images made at both orchestrated events and in more candid moments. squido lense . The once-invisible professional photographer’s process has been laid bare.

On occasion, photographers even purposefully make their fellow photographers the subject of their pictures. The most difficult picture to take, it seems, is one without the presence of another photographer either explicitly or implicitly in the frame.

Everyone wants to record their own version of realityironically, it turns out, because by distracting oneself with a camera, it’s easy to miss the true experience of a moment. At a recent Jack White concert, the guitarist requested that audience members stop trying to take their own photos. “The bigger idea,” his label noted in a statement, “is for people to experience the event with their own eyes and not watch an entire show through a tiny screen in their hand. We have every show photographed professionally and the pictures are available from Jack White’s website shortly after to download for free.”

The abundance of camera phones and inexpensive digital cameras has changed the photographic landscape in countless and still-incompletely understood ways, and it’s not just the North Korean government trying to find ways around the hoards of photographers making their way into everyone else’s shots. Here, TIME looks back on the past year to highlight an increasingly common phenomenon: the photographer in the picture.

Tearsheet of The Day | Paolo Pellegrin from Cuba for the National Geographic

I already shared a link with a photo to Paolo Pellegrin’s National Geographic feature, Cuba’s New Now, in the last Features and Essays post,but I also want to show how good the opening spread looks in the actual magazine. blog comment . Stunning.

pp. 28-29 National Geographic magazine. November 2012 issue. Caption: A window reflects an image of Fidel Castro in a working-class Havana neighborhood few tourists see. Photo Paolo Pellegrin

Paolo Pellegrin (b.1964. Italy) is a Magnum photographer who lives in Rome and New York City.

Best Magazine Assignment Ever: Neil Leifer’s 1984 Olympic Odyssey Around the World

In honor of this year’s London Games, LightBox has retrieved one of TIME’s most-prized portfolios: Neil Leifer’s timeless portraits of athletes created during a year-long project for which the photographer traveled to 13 different countries to create a groundbreaking collection of images that would appear in TIME’s preview of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

It’s hard for modern viewers, accustomed as we are to photo-shopped composite images, to appreciate the effort it took to create the photographs in this essay. Just the logistics of transporting the athletes from their training areas to the picture postcard locations, whether it was the Great Wall of China or the plains of Africa was a challenge. “I proposed photographing athletes around the world in front of the picture postcard image of their nation—an Egyptian at the Pyramids, a Russian at Red Square, Indian athletes at the Taj Mahal,” Leifer said. “[Then-managing editor] Ray Cave just looked at me like I was crazy. He said, ‘do you know how much that’s going to cost me?’”

(For daily coverage of the 2012 Games, visit TIME’s Olympics blog)

But a few days later, Cave gave the go ahead for Leifer to spend a year traveling from continent to continent for this unprecedented photographic quest.  “It could have been done at a fraction of the cost,” says Leifer. “We could have had TIME’s bureaus get the best athlete in each country and then have good local photographers do this. But you don’t get a continuity of approach that you’d get with one photographer.”

So with as much secrecy as possible to prevent the competition from catching on, Leifer and his assistant Anthony Suarez, started their journey. In those pre-internet, pre-email days, the magazine had a vast global network of more than two dozen bureaus to help wrangle athletes in each country and to cope with visas—no easy feat in a period when there were inherent political sensitivities in negotiating with countries like the Soviet Union or East Germany while an Olympic boycott brewing.

“It took weeks to set up each shoot,” says Leifer. “And there’s not a single one of these pictures where I use any artificial lighting.” Leifer says he spent days at the Parthenon figuring out how to get the best light to get the image ofworld champion in javelin, Sophia Sakorafa of Greece standing on a broken column, javelin raised in front of the ancient ruins. “I wanted her to look like she was on a Greek urn.” And so she did—without a bit of digital help.

“Today you could do half this thing on the computer,” Leifer explains. “You would take a Japanese gymnast and get rid of the background and put Mount Fuji there.” Instead, to get  the shot of gymnast Koji Gushiken in front of that famous white peak, Leifer had bring a cherry picker to the perfect spot and get a crew to hang the rings from the top. And finally, convince a nationally-prized athlete to mount that unusual apparatus and pose.

For the cover photo of American track star Carl Lewis jumping in front of the Statue of Liberty, Leifer hired a tugboat to take Lewis out into New York harbor. “Sure, maybe you could have photographed Carl on a trampoline in a studio and maybe it would have been more perfect, but the fun was doing it live and being there,” he says. And it is true that there is some unquantifiable about seeing these athletes actually in front of landmarks that so define their nation. It’s something a studio shot can’t match.

The most resounding no he got as far locations were concerned was from the then-communist government of East Germany which refused to let him photograph swimmer Kristin Otto in front of the Berlin Wall—a sore subject in 1983, just four years before president Ronald Reagan demanded that Russian leader Gorbachev “tear down this wall.” So instead, we see Otto in front of the soot-covered columns of Germany’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The result of Leifer’s efforts is a time capsule, not just because of all that has happened in the nearly 30 years since these images were taken—from the fall of the Soviet Bloc to the rise of China as a global superpower—but because projects of this scope, time frame and cost are even more rare than they were then.

Leifer, who will be 70-years-old in December, pivoted away from still photography in the late 90s (after racking up more than 200 cover images for TIME and Sports Illustrated), and is now focused on documentary filmmaking. But he will be back on the Olympic beat at the 2012 games in London with an on-site studio fromwhich he’ll make portraits of this year’s Olympians for NBC and Sports Illustrated.

Neil Leifer was a staff photographer with TIME, Life and Sports Illustrated. See more of his work, both in film and photography, on his website.

Tearsheet of The Day | 25 June 2012

Platon’s portraits of one of my all time favourite  filmmakers, Woody Allen, in the latest edition of Newsweek International, to coincide with the release of Allen’s latest film To Rome With Love.

Newsweek (Int’l ed.) 25 June 2012 issue. Photos © Platon.

Platon(b.1968, London) is a British portrait photographer based in New York. He is a staff photographer at The New Yorker and his work appears regularly in the Time magazine.

He is perhaps most known in the photojournalism community for his 2007  photo of Russian president Vladimir Putin, which was awarded the 2008 World Press Photo Portrait prize. You can see Platon talk about the shoot here.

Platon’s most recent book is Power: Portraits of World Leaders, which is also available for the iPad.

Francesca Woodman, The Roman years: between flesh and film

woodman_1.jpg

Francesca Woodman, from The Eel series, 1977-78, Rome. linkwheel .
Image courtesy George and Betty Woodman, and Contrasto Books.

A new book Francesca Woodman, The Roman years: between flesh and film intimately (and academically) explores two particularly creative years during Francesca Woodman’s tragically short life. See more images, and read the book review in Lens Culture. carrera de fotografia .

Pictures of the Week: February 3 – February 10

From snow storms in Rome and Superbowl XLVI to protests in Egypt and Queen Elizabeth II’s Jubilee, TIME’s photo department presents the best images of the week.

Photographer #427: Nicol Vizioli

Nicol Vizioli, 1982, Italy, is a fine-art photographer based in London. She received a BA in Cinema at La Sapienze University in Rome and only recently an MA in Fashion Photography at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts. Her graduation project is called Shadows on Parade, a series of bizarre and mythical portraits. “They are declinations of my imagery, desires, waits, silent attempts of redemption. Sometimes they are dreams, more often they are prayers.”…“The casting was very instinctive but precise: twins, elderly, albinos or bald people.” She has been painting and drawing before she started photography and this strongly influences her work today. Her work has been exhibited in Italy and in the UK. The following images come from the series Shadows on Parade, AntiFashionManifesto and Hildegard Von Bingen.

Website: www.nicolvizioli.com

If in Rome : FotoGrafia, International Festival of Rome, through August 2

Works from Food For Your Eyes fellow photograhers will be on display at Fotografia, International Festival of Roma from May 29th untill August 2nd at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni.

As a part of a group -exhibtion “La Gioia” fearuring many good photographers works,  you can enjoy Same Same But Different by Jörg Brüggemann (one photo from his series photo made the festival poster ), Instants Separated by Intervals, a portrait series by Manuel Capurso and Last Stop Rockaways Park by  recipient of the 2008-09 Aaron Siskind Foundation IPF grant, Miss Juliana Beasley ….