Photographers' Blog

The last theater in town

Powell River, Canada

By Andy Clark

As far back as I can remember, history has always fascinated me. Though my specialty as an amateur historian has been military history, just about anything that occurred prior to my birth has had my undivided attention. Recently while having a coffee with a friend, he mentioned he had been to a town north of Vancouver called Powell River and had happened to visit a local movie theater. He went on to say matter of factly, that the theater had been continuously running since it was built many years ago.

“Stop right there,” I said. “Did you take any pictures of the place?” Yes, he had and he pulled out his laptop to show me.

Powell River is a small community on the British Columbia Sunshine Coast and accessible only by water. To get there requires about two hours travel by car and a couple of hours crossing on two different ferries from Vancouver. The town was born around 1910 after a pulp and paper mill was built beginning in 1908. At one time the Powell River Company Mill was the largest of its kind in the world supplying paper to one out of every 25 newspapers in the world. In 1913, a small wooden theater was built to offer the locals entertainment that included silent movies, vaudeville shows and even local boxing matches. The town’s people decided to have a naming contest for the theater leaving their suggestions in a ballot box at the company store. A very popular public figure in Canada at the time was Princess Patricia of Connaught, the granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Princess Patricia was living in Canada at the time while her father The Duke of Connaught served as Governor General in Ottawa, Canada’s capital. Thus, the new theater was named the Patricia.

A new building was constructed in 1928 to replace the original tall narrow theater known to shake and rattle in high wind. It even had bats darting around in the ceiling during performances, forcing the audience to duck and cover their heads. In July 1928, workers broke ground on the new place. But this time, the building was constructed of brick, mortar and stucco. Four months later on November 6 the new Patricia Theatre opened for business. Eighty-five years later almost to the day on a dark and damp evening, I showed up at the Patricia.

As most photographers know, assignments can look or sound good on paper but until you actually get there and see, one never knows for sure. I had gathered a pretty good idea from my friend’s photos and after chatting with the current owner Ann Nelson by phone the theater sounded like a real gem of history. I was not to be disappointed. Just walking up to the theater for the first time was like stepping through a rift in time. The inside was another world. Mural paintings on the wall, wooden trim and of course the rows of old theater seats from the private boxes in the back to the foot of stage. Across the stage hung the original curtain still in place. Made to order in Seattle and shipped by boat one would not have been surprised if Al Jolson himself had stepped from behind the French Velvet to sing a song or two.

Back to the pinhole future

Velenje, Slovenia

By Srdjan Zivulovic

I haven’t been this excited and concerned about a story for a long time. I was about to photograph a young designer and his wooden pin hole camera. Photographing in a pristine way, without a lens and on film is a really amazing experience. Working for a long time with digital photography, I got used to the ease and speed of shooting, editing and transmitting the captured material to Reuters clients. Now, I had to remember all the procedures and loopholes involved in capturing and processing on the Leica film format.

That’s why I am grateful to the young and ever-cheerful designer and photographer Elvis Halilović for continuing the idea and development of pinhole cameras.

Elvis got his education at the Academy of fine arts and design in Ljubljana and has been developing his camera ever since. The idea of a pinhole camera came as a counterweight to the quick thinking ways of today’s digital camera manufacturers. The camera was made for long-term use and as a designer object which can be handed down as a family heirloom for generations. He has even noticed that young people wish to use their acquired knowledge and their own handywork to develop printed photographs.

Over your shoulder

Cannes, France

By Yves Herman

“Over your shoulder, look at me, straight ahead, dead center, ooh la la, give me eye contact, sir, madam, on your right, big smile, show me your dress, you look gorgeous!” It’s all you can say to catch their attention, you need them to look straight in to the lens of your camera.

Yes, we are talking about the stars, the real ones, the big ones but also those who fill the pages of magazines. They can be actors, models, TV hosts or even socialites. They are popular and bankable for 1,000s of photographers standing on the red carpets in Cannes.

The annual Cannes Film Festival on the French Riviera is the biggest film festival in the world. Running for 12 days, it garners the attention of thousands of reporters and the entire world of cinema fans. Press photographers from everywhere gather in the south of France, equipped with a bunch of cameras and all their lenses and flashes, searching to immortalize celebrities.

The old Cannes clapper-board

Cannes, France

By Eric Gaillard

In 1987, I covered my fifth Cannes Film Festival. I really wanted to find THE original and exclusive photo to announce its opening.

“The cinema Clap” – An idea which became evidence: Take a photo of the President of the Jury holding a cinema clap. The show begins for another 12-day festival.

At that moment I could not imagine the work and the stress behind this challenge and how far I would have to fight to succeed. Anyway, it was the start of an exciting experience, that I’ve continued every year since.

Bollywood dreams

Mumbai, India

By Danish Siddiqui

The Hindi film industry or Bollywood can make a star, a household name out of anyone overnight. It can bring instant money, fame and the fan-following of millions from across continents.

Bollywood is an addiction for many that attracts thousands of aspirants to the breeding grounds, the city of Mumbai, everyday. I was keen to look at this other side of the glamour world. The side that entails the struggle to enter the world of aspiring dreamers and their struggles to become a star.

There is no time limit to becoming a nationwide sensation, a star in Bollywood. As one of the aspirants told me it’s a gamble you take, forgetting all your worries about the results.

A different political film

By Jim Young

The political game always seems the same to me, only the players change.

This is my third Presidential campaign and I have always been fascinated with U.S. politics. This time around it was the early impact of the Tea Party and Sarah Palin, all the way to Romney’s run up to election day that intrigued me.

It all began 18 months ago when I was based in Washington D.C. and started shooting with a Hasselblad x-pan panoramic film camera while covering President Barack Obama. I had never used a rangefinder before and had to remember how to manually focus a camera.

GALLERY: POLITICS ON FILM

Shortly after I started the project, I moved to Chicago. A year and a half before election day and the campaign was already in full swing. A growing list of Republican challengers lined up for a chance to go up against the President.

Angry Birds at Sundance

By Jim Urquhart


Courtesy of Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune

I am not a star stalker nor am I a paparazzi. I am just a screaming photojournalist and the Angry Birds Champion of the World!

I was recently given the opportunity to work with Reuters’ photojournalists Lucas Jackson and Mario Anzuoni as part of the photo team covering the Sundance Film Festival. This was my second year covering the event, which is more like a triathlon in terms of photo work. The days can be long, you have to use different photographic skill sets and there’s a bit of competition for pictures.

It is the one assignment a year like it for me. I mainly cover breaking news, features and sports. I know nothing about celebrity or entertainment news. But for some reason this doesn’t deter the editors from throwing me in to it. Luckily Mario and Lucas know what they are doing.

The Kodak tragedy

By Gary Cameron

Like so many consumers who have seen the continual demise of Eastman Kodak and it’s many film, and film-related products, I view today’s filing for Chapter 11 protection with incredible sadness. That sadness is coupled, however, with the cruel understanding of how a great U.S. company that once led the world in its respective industry, is poised now to go the same route as Oldsmobile, Plymouth, Pontiac, and join an ever-growing group of American industrial icons that did not keep up or improve their product enough to stay competitive.

As a news photographer of 32 years, a lot of Kodak film and chemistry has passed through my hands. Having the last name of Cameron played a part. Schoolyard taunts of “Gary Camera, Gary Camera,” never angered me. Taking pictures was a cool thing to do.

When I was five years old, I would swipe my Uncle Dave’s Leica rangefinder camera that was always loaded with Kodachrome color slide film and attempt to imitate the actions required to take a picture. I knew that this lever would advance the film, this window was where you looked through to take the photo, and that was about it. No focusing and no understanding of how to set the aperture or shutter speed to control the amount of light hitting the film plane. It was always a surprise to my Uncle that somehow, in that batch of processed color slides, there were 36 exposures of a roadside park trash can, all out of focus, and all over, or under, exposed.

World War Z goes to Glasgow

By David Moir

The post-apocalyptic horror novel, ‘World War Z’, by Max Brooks, has been adapted into a film starring Brad Pitt and Mireille Enos and directed by Marc Forster. It has started filming in Scotland. The set is mainly on the streets in and around George Square in Glasgow, with its open space and architecture, substituting for Philadelphia.

Road signs have been put up telling you 16th Street, J F Kennedy Boulevard and Ben Franklin Bridge are just around the corner so hopefully you feel like you are in Philly, certainly some of the tourists from the U.S. I’ve spoken to seem to give it the thumbs up.

The Brangelina bandwagon (or train as it should now be known) chartered an entire train for the journey north from London over the border to Glasgow for themselves, their children and cast and crew of the film. They arrived last week in a flurry of media attention (TV crews positioned, journalists lurking and photographers roaming) and blacked out people carriers and limousines sitting near by but with security so tight you couldn’t see a thing.

Fishing with film

By Carlos Barria

In the “old” days, back before digital photography, photographers used to lug around tons of extra luggage, portable dark rooms, and set up shop in their hotel bathrooms. Or they would send their film — by motorcycle, car or even plane — to somebody else in a hotel or office close by to develop it, scan it and file. Or they might have to scramble and look for a lab in the middle of a crisis, in a foreign country. I don’t think my colleague Joe Skipper speaks Spanish, but I know that when he covered a showdown at Colombia’s Justice Ministry in the 80s, he learned how to say, “Mas amarillo!,” “More yellow!


North America chief photographer Gary Hershorn arrives to the Vancouver international airport with all his photo lab luggage. REUTERS/Stringer

I began my career as a photographer at the beginning of the digital era, working at La Nacion in Argentina. There, in 2000, I had a front row seat to the transition. I shot film myself, but for a very short period.