Photographers' Blog

From the White House to the Mad House

Bali, Indonesia

By Jason Reed

Just a couple of months ago I was swirling in a perpetual bubble, a privileged circle of photographers whose job it is to photograph one man – the President of the United States.

I did it for ten years and mostly enjoyed every minute. Over that period of time there comes a predictable familiarity to the role, in which you can pre-write all your captions hours and sometimes days in advance and plan your coverage down to the last detail. It is a safe and cosy existence. Due to the nature of the subject, it needs to be.

Behind the velvet rope, boundaries are respected and the president’s handlers and the Secret Service ensure you are no closer to him than you need to be. Your bread-and-butter lens is most often the 70-200mm telephoto zoom variety and getting an exclusive image is almost impossible. Subtlety and nuance in your edit is the biggest differentiator between your work and the person that just shot the same thing over your shoulder.

I enjoyed the experience and learnt a heck of a lot from some great photographers at the top of their game. This was my life for a decade, but my feet were getting itchy and it was time for a change of environment. Well, be careful what you wish for!

I started a new role based in Australia, and barely a month in I knew working life would be different. I enjoy new challenges, but the contrast between working environments was about to prove as extreme as they come…

The Labor Pains of Royal Photography

London, England

By Suzanne Plunkett

The last occasion I spent any amount of time at St Mary’s hospital in London, I was giving birth to my own child. And I can honestly say that experience was a lot less painful than covering the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s newborn son.

A photocall for a baby might not seem like that tough an assignment — and for many of the endless days of waiting in the run up to the birth, the only challenge was boredom — but when the time came, the physical and mental stress gave even the most severe labor contractions a run for their money.

GALLERY: ROYAL BABY BOY

First there was the planning — far more meticulous than for a birth when most couples simply have to pack an overnight bag, work out the quickest way to hospital and, for reasons we will never truly understand, prepare a relaxing CD of whale sounds. For the photographers, this was more of a forensic exercise in which every detail was scrutinized minutely and agonized over.

A Hollywood timelapse

Hollywood, California

By Mario Anzuoni

The timelapse: One GoPro, one magic arm, one plate, one phone GoPro app.

During my usual coverage of entertainment events, I come across a few that are a little bit more unique. Whether that may be the unveiling of a star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, a celebrity leaving hand and footprints in cement for eternity, or the world premiere of a blockbuster movie. Events such as these are hyped by the fans, attract large crowds and hundreds of members of the media and are often held in the heart of Hollywood.

My idea for this project was to give a much wider look of the whole scene before, during and after. Therefore not focusing solely on the celebrity but instead placing it into context and giving the viewer a closer idea to exactly what happens during big entertainment events such as these.

I knew that my GoPro camera would be ideal; it was wide enough, it offered me minimal set-up (practically anywhere a magic arm could be attached), just like I did for the Backstreet Boys star where I ended up latching it onto a pipe by the sidewalk.

How a simple tentacle became a media star

Sometimes I hold seminars about journalism – photo journalism in particular of course. Most of the time I start talking about the journalistic rule number one.

What is rule number one? Journalism works very simply. When a dog bites a man – this is not a story. Dogs bite men. Unless the man is Prince Charles or the President of the United States, nobody is interested. But the opposite case – when a man bites a dog – that’s a story. The story will be even bigger if the man who bites the dog is the U.S. President and the dog belongs to Prince Charles.

However, in the future I must change my seminars and change the picture from the dog to the octopus “Paul” — better known as the “octopus oracle” at the Sea Life Aquarium of Oberhausen, a former coal mining and steel producing city in western Germany.

from AxisMundi Jerusalem:

In Bilin…every Friday

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Click below for a multi-media 'essay' on the weekly protests staged in the West Bank to protest the barrier Israel is building in and around the West Bank. Israel says the barrier prevents Palestinian attacks in its towns and cities. Palestinians say the barrier is a land grab as much of it is built on land they want for a future state.

from AxisMundi Jerusalem:

Heaven or Hell

To be in the right place at the right moment - this is every photojournalist’s dream. To be on the scene to record the “decisive moment” with your camera.

Most photojournalists around the world consider Israel and the Palestinian Territories as "heaven" for great stories providing great pictures. Well they are wrong.

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For a long time this place has produced some of the most memorable news photos ever but at a high cost, and not just to the millions of Israelis and Palestinians who have suffered in their daily lives through the conflict of the past two decades or so. A number of photographers and camera operators lost their lives or been badly injured while trying to convey the story and a great number of others have psychological scars from being exposed to scenes of death and destruction over long periods of time. 

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