Obama is Rich

The Library Of Congress on Flickr

This is perhaps an easier way to navigate through the huge and often rewarding archive of photos from the Library of Congress. Only a tiny portion have been uploaded but it's worth a look. It is also an opportunity to read the often inane comments of many flickr users. Funny at first, annoying after a bit. Anyway, heres a sample image.

Kenya still

Richard's previous posts on the photographs from Indonesia led me to other slideshows on the NY Times site where I saw this one from Kenya.

A tire burned on top of a truck serving as a makeshift roadblock in Kisumu. The town is now almost completely ethnically cleansed of Kikuyus, and mobs armed with makeshift weapons erected burning roadblocks and searched for the few Kikuyu targets remaining.

Photo: Ben Curtis/Associated Press


Anton van Dalen

Pencil drawing commentary on the state of consumerism and industrialization. I figured Tom would enjoy the jab at Apple as being at fault for influencing mass consumption of high price electronic goodies.

Suharto Funeral

Another Times staffer knocking it out the park.

Javanese Mysticism

Some really impressive photography lately from staff photographers at NY Times. This photo is from an essay on the mystical beliefs of native people of Java.

Why Shoot Digital?

While looking for something else entirely I stumbled across an explanation on the website of Peter Krogh of why digital photography prevails in the commercial world.

I think digital is great but there's not really any standard for charging expenses for flash cards (film) uploading and post (process and print) and FTP (delivery). It still takes time, and hard drives cost money, software needs updating and digital cameras become old technology every 18 months at the moment...

While in the past clients would expect to pay for film etc, and expect you to give it a little mark up, in the digital age you are just expected to own all this stuff - especially as a photojournalist.

Anyway, here's the quote:

The reason that digital photography has taken off recently is NOT because it is cheaper to produce. Rather, digital photography is being adopted by the marketplace because it provides significant value to the buyer. What kind of value? We Get more Done: Digital Capture has greatly increased our productivity during the shoot.

Immediate Feedback : Because the image can be viewed right away, everyone can walk away from the shoot knowing that it has been successful. In cases where the photographer is "shooting for expression", this is extremely valuable. In many cases, polaroids can simply not show what you get, because expressions change so fast.

Easy Editing : I can make the shoot available for viewing over the web pretty quickly. We can discuss which images work for the project, and I can put them into final production right away. And this is all done without the risk of sending original film.

Shortened Project Delivery Times : Digital Capture consolidates the production of images. The Digital Photographer is able to provide a product ready to be dropped into a document, and sent to a printer for final settings and output. This could easily remove 6 messenger fees and the associated time delay from a project. And in many cases, the entire delivery of images can be done electronically.

Reduced Liability : Clients frequently accept large potential liabilities when they take responsibility for original film. The liability for loss or damage of the image is no longer a consideration with digital capture and delivery.

The Go Green East Harlem Cookbook

Some out-takes from the photographs I took for the Go Green East Harlem cookbook produced by the Manhattan Borough President's Office and containing recipes from East Harlem chefs and residents.

Check it out to see photographs by Ryan Thatcher, Pax Paloscia, Paula Odevall, Andre Watts, Lara Alcantara and Hyla Skopitz.

Oh and did I mention it also contains recipes?

Eat healthy people.

The Dominican Republic.

I visited this country for some winter sun at the end of last year. My wife booked us into an all-inclusive beach resort which was lovely but we didn't really see any of the country. I spent a lot of time reading about the history of the place, which is fascinating.

Here's a recent article and slideshow from the New York Times about the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

You can see some of the pictures I took by clicking on the links below.


Panteon Nacional

Parque Colon

Plaza Espana

Columbus Lighthouse

Punta Cana part one

Punta Cana part two

Energy Wars

These days there is much talk about our responsibility as consumers and often the phrase 'ethical consumption' actually means spending money to alleviate guilt (think; offsetting carbon emmissions).

There is an article here about converting Hummers so they can run on biofuel and do more than 8 miles to the gallon.

Compare that with the scene below from 'Oil Rich' Iraq.

Imagine if you had to wait 3 days for a gallon of fuel so you could drive 8 miles in a Hummer.

Photograph: Khalid Mohammed/AP

Caption reads - Baghdad, Iraq: An Iraqi woman gestures as she reacts to her plight after waiting in a queue to buy petrol for three days, with others to fill up her containers with petrol for heating. The woman is nearing the front of the queue after three days waiting in line, now with only a few people ahead of her to buy rationed fuel.

Photographers agents and reps

Editor vs Publisher

O'Shea speaks to Times Publisher David D. Hiller as he packs up his office. Photo by Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

James E. O’Shea was recently ousted from his position of Editor at the Los Angeles Times after a long running disagreement with Publisher
David D. Hiller. The dispute has raised some interesting points about the news industry, especially it's reliance on advertising revenue and the culture of celebrity. I agree wholeheartedly with the following, which is an extract from the statement O'Shea sent to his staff regarding his departure.

"This company, indeed, this industry, must invest more in solid, relevant journalism. We must integrate the speed and agility of the Internet with the news judgment and editorial values of the newsroom, values that are more important than ever as the hunger for news continues to surge and gossip pollutes the information atmosphere. Even in hard times, wise investment — not retraction — is the long-term answer to the industry’s troubles. We must build on our core strength, which is good, accurate reporting, the backbone of solid journalism, the public service that helps people make the right decisions about their increasingly complex lives. We must tell people what they want to know and — even more important — what they might not want to know, about war, politics, economics, schools, corruption and the thoughts and deeds of those who lead us. We need to tell readers more about Barack Obama and less about Britney Spears. We must give a voice to those who can’t afford a megaphone. And we must become more than a marketing slogan."

Click here to read more on the LA Times website


The assassination of Dr. King in Memphis on April 4th 1968, as photographed by an AP photographer. If anyone knows who shot this photo (or indeed who really shot Dr. King!) please let me know. If you are unable to march on Washington, a good thing to do today instead would be to click here or here and watch his most famous of famous speeches, to read it and to wonder if 40 years later his dream of freedom and equality for all people and races is any closer to becoming reality...

Kenya Pictures & Video Report

all eyes on Kenya at the moment...

The following has caught my attention.

I have no idea who took this photograph - it was on the Guardian UK website, unattributed except to AFP.

The photograph above is by Simon Maina/AFP

Also, there is this video from the bbc...


I've never met any actual Kenyans, but I recently met a gentleman who lived in Kenya for a while. He told me about the beauty of the country and we talked briefly about recent events. This photograph speaks volumes.

A woman walks past a destroyed butcher's shop at Burnt Forest near Eldoret, Kenya. Photograph by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Never Forget

I find it strange that there is so much focus in the U.S. media on the next President of the country when the current administration is still actively in charge. The presidential race seems to me to take up all the political energies for well over a year before the actual election itself. Sometimes it helps to be reminded of what is happening now.

Whoever wins later this year, they will be in a very difficult position. One thing most people agree on is that the current state of affairs is pretty dire.

Hamas supporters protesting against George Bush during the President's visit to the Middle East. Photograph by Abid Katib/Getty Images.

Fader #51

Gabriele has told me some great stories from the assignment he was sent on for this issue of The Fader, so I thought his photographs should be worth checking out.

Plenty published and some fine shots. Check it out in your local magazine store or download the PDF online.

I also liked some of Matt Eich's photography in the same issue. Impressed me more than some other work of his I've seen.


I'm a big fan of Kafka's writing. I sometimes wish my German was good enough to read it in the original but sadly "wo ist der bahnhof" and 'Ich habe eine Katzen' hardly constitutes fluency by any stretch of the imagination. Anyway, here is a passage from his unfinished novel 'Amerika' which is great and wonderfully messy and I wish he'd finished it. In it, the main character - Karl - has travelled from Europe to America and is looking at a photograph of his parents...

[...] in which his small father stood very erect behind his mother, who sat in an easy-chair slightly sunk into herself. One of his father's hands lay on the back of the chair, the other, which was clenched to a fist, rested on a picture-book lying open on a fragile table beside him. There was another photograph in which Karl had been included together with his parents. In it his father and mother were eying him sharply, while he was staring at the camera, as the photographer bade him. But he had not taken this photograph with him on the voyage.

He gazed all the more attentively now at the one lying before him and tried to catch his father's eye from various angles. But his father refused to come to life, no matter how much his expression was modified by shifting the candle into different positions; nor did his thick, horizontal moustache look in the least real; it was not a good photograph. His mother, however, had come out better; her mouth was twisted as if she had been hurt and were forcing herself to smile. It seemed to Karl that anyone who saw the photograph must be so forcibly struck with this that he would begin immediately to think it an exaggerated, not to say foolish, interpretation. How could a photograph convey with such complete certainty the secret feelings of the person shown in it? And he looked away from the photograph for a little while. When he glanced at it again he noticed his mother's hand, which dropped from the arm of the chair in the foreground, near enough to kiss. He wondered if it might not be better to write to his parents [...] And with a smile he scrutinised his parents faces as if to read in them whether they still wanted to hear news of their son.

(Kafka, Franz (1996). Amerika, trans. Willa and Edwin Muir. New York: Schocken Book. ISBN 0-8052-1064-4.

kafka in 1906


Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

The caption reads:

A slum in Karachi, the city worst hit by violence since Benazir Bhutto was assassinated last week, was relatively calm on Tuesday.

This photo was on the New York Times front page today. It made me stop walking. It looks like an aftermath to me. Or the calm before the gathering storm.

Very Eerie.

On a lighter note I remember being told numerous times never to have poles coming out of people's heads in photographs. Apparently no-one told Tyler!

My cup ot tea.

As it's the new year and everyone's doing best of 2007 and top tens etc etc I decided to look for a published photograph from 2007 that was very simple, no frills, was well presented and that I really liked for a variety of reasons. I eventually decided on this one. I found it in the UK's Guardian newspaper. Everyday they print one picture over a full double page spread and this one was published in December. It is by no means my top photograph of 2007, but it is one which has everything I need. Kind of like a cup of tea on a cold day. It doesn't have to be spectacularly good in order to satisfy completely.

Photograph: Sabah Arar/AFP/Getty Images

The caption reads:

December 3, 2007, Baghdad, Iraq: Tailor Kader Nasser Sadek at his workshop, where for 50 years he has decorated the walls with mementoes of Iraq's turbulent history. Now he has run out of space.

This is a very simple, straightforward image but it hides a wealth of detail. It is not in any sense gimmicky. There is a calm geometry to the photograph. Also, among a plethora of deadpan portraits the fact that the tailor is concentrating on his work and not staring vacantly at the camera is refreshing. Though this man - Kader Nasser Sadek - is identified as a tailor there are few trappings from a tailor's trade visible. Instead you see the walls are covered in photographs and clippings. When the caption reveals what these decorations consist of then the photograph becomes laden with the weight of politics, history and current affairs, though I disagree slightly with the dramatic sentence "Now he has run out of space" mainly because it isn't quite true. There is a small patch of wall unfilled!

I am a sucker for scenes of everyday life and I am pleased that someone in Iraq has a place like this. As a counterpoint to many of the photographs coming out of the country everyday it encourages me. That it was published as a stand alone image over two whole pages is something any photographer should be proud of and I think it was an intelligent choice. As a picture it stuck in my mind and sparked many trains of thought. Again, something any photographer should be proud of.

So all in all a good solid cup of tea on a cold winter's day. Lovely.

Finally, my first new years resolution is to Keep It Simple Stupid. Shouldn't be to complicated to stick to eh?