The Middle East Journals of Tom Hurndall - online panel talk

This seems like a worthwhile endeavour...


16.00-17.00 GMT (17h Central Europe, 11h East Coast US)

Trolley are launching a crowdfunding campaign for our book ‘The Only House Left Standing - the Middle East Journals of Tom Hurndall.’ Tom Hurndall, a young British photojournalist and peace worker, was shot in the head in Gaza in April 2003 whilst carrying Palestinian children to safety. He died nine months later in a London hospital. The book will contain Tom’s photographs in the weeks running up to his shooting, as well as his personal writing from his diaries and poems, and contains a preface by Robert Fisk.

The eight week campaign will launch on Friday 26th November, the day before Tom’s birthday, with a panel talk commencing at 16.00 GMT. The panel includes:

• Tom’s parents Anthony and Jocelyn Hurndall
• John Sweeney - BBC Panorama journalist who did 2003 documentary ‘When Killing is Easy’ and Independent article Silenced Witnesses
• Rowan Joffe and Simon Block - Director and Screenwriter of Channel 4 BAFTA-nominated film documentary The Shooting of Thomas Hurndall
• Mohammed Qeshta - who was with Tom when we was shot and worked for the International Solidarity Movement
• Gigi Giannuzzi - publisher and founder of Trolley Books It will be an hour long panel discussion of people who know Tom’s story and will be filmed and streamed live online to launch the fundraising campaign. The aim of this talk will be to engage the audience with Tom’s work and the concept of the book, whilst encouraging people to donate money towards it.

We are inviting participants to watch the online panel talk live, on your computer, ipad or iphone, simply by registering with your email in advance We will then send you information on how to join us online live for the talk. The platform for the crowdfunding campaign will be Indiegogo, who support creative projects looking for much-needed financial support, especially those with a documentary basis. An edited version of the talk will afterwards be uploaded to our Indiegogo page online. Indiegogo is a pledge-for-reward social platform where supporters of our project will be able to pledge anything from £5 upwards. For example a pledge of £25 effectively pre-orders a copy of the book and supporters will be the first to receive it when it is printed.

The launch event on the 26th November will present our crowdfunding campaign live and explain further what the book is about, why it is important and how people can become involved to make it happen.

For more information please contact Hannah Watson, +44(0)207729 6591.

Shooting from the hip(ster)

Ok, I have a question. If I post processed my raw files from my SLR to look like Damon Winter's iphone photos would I breaking the (rather malleable) ethical guidelines for photojournalists on retouching? Does using the automated post processing of the hipstamatic app violate those same guidelines?

I find this very interesting. The front page of the New York Times presents heavily stylised automatically retouched photographs in a news context. The comments on the Lens blog range from applause on the intimacy of the imagery and the way it gives an insight into the daily lives of the soldiers all the way to: 'Great pictures. I need to get that iPhone app.'

I've always said that I have no problem with stylised photography, but there has to be a reason for it. When I was working in post production there was a road safety advert that mimicked the look of video on a camera phone. This was a few years ago so the quality of camera phone video was pretty poor. Prior to shooting, the producers wrangled over the concept trying to work out how they would post process the footage to make it so low res when the director said 'Well, why don't we just shoot it on a phone?' Or at least that was the story I heard. Whatever, the results were pretty effective. Watch it here.

When I teach Photoshop and digital post processing I tell students that if someone looks at their image and notices the style before the content, they have failed. If the first thing someone says is 'wow, look at those photoshop skills' then they have failed.

The style should reflect and lead you to the content of the image, not obscure it. In my opinion, some of Damon Winter's iphone photos fall into one category, while some fall into the other. From what I understand, Damon Winter is photographing with his iphone while also using a 'regular' camera. Of course, it would be a shame to not show great photography simply because it is done using a particular process or effect. Holgas, odd lenses, strange film processing techniques and digital darkroom effects have been used and abused many many times in journalism. I for one am a big fan of high speed, high contrast, grainy black and white film. The high ISO lets me shoot quickly, aesthetically I love the look and no one would argue that it would be unethical of me to load my camera with Fujifilm Neopan 1600...would they?

So here is my question again - ethically, can I hipstamaticise the raw files from my SLR? Or not?


Here's a quote from a recent article I just read (thanks Jason.):

"(Note to budding journalism students: never let the photographer decide where you’re going on assignment.)"

Really? I know a fair few photographers - myself included - who would throw that straight back at you Mr Steve Tuttle of Newsweek.

Especially as the photographer's diversion afforded you the core of the article you then wrote, which incidentally tells us more about yourself than the people you met.

Dear Writers; It's attitudes like that which will cause a photographer to refer to you with the derogatory term 'scribblers'.

Check out Antonio Bolfo's 'snaps' here.

The "National Iconography of Riot"

The recent student protests in the U.K. over education fees seem to have kicked off a debate that I think has been bubbling for a while, at least since the elections earlier this year and the absolute farce of a government that resulted. As the protests turned violent, with a small group of students and their supporters breaking into the Conservative party headquarters opinion became divided, with some people praising the 'direct action' and others condemning it. The interesting thing for me is that while I expected condemnation from the government and the official Union spokespeople, there were murmers of support from within the education industry, specifically Goldsmiths College's University and College Union. Now I am all for peaceful protest, but as we saw in 2003 when thousands and thousands marched through the center of London (and other cities) to protest the invasion of Iraq, peaceful protest doesn't always get the government's attention. Are we seeing a return to the energy and activism that Britain saw in the Thatcher years and that carried over into such things as the Poll Tax riots and the Reclaim the Streets movement?

Britain has a long history of mass protest, of mobs and grassroots activism, indeed, of violence and revolution. We may not have the defining moments that the French, the Russians or the Americans have (check your English Civil War history and the restoration of the Monarchy for a typically English approach to rebellion), but there has always been a sense that the everyday person has a right to protest the government and make their opinion felt in a very public way.

It will be very interesting to see if these student protests become a catalyst for the public expression of dissatisfaction with the Tory led coalition government. In particular, I wonder if the Liberal Democrat members of Parliament will join these protests from their benches in the House of Commons.

Of course, the protests were not all violent and were in fact mostly peaceful, but what the media has picked up on is the sensational side of the story. This is the photo that seems to have been most widely used to illustrate the day.

Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

On the Guardian website I read an interesting - if pompously worded - article examining this particular image. If you can get past the language, Johnathan Jones makes some pertinent observations on why this image was used, and how it fits into the cultural context.

I'll be in the U.K. in December and am looking forward to some armchair revolutionary discussions in the Pub with my non student tax paying friends on how things are. I'm a bit old and a bit past my 'building occupation' days. Besides, it'll be cold and I'll have the kids with me and as a final excuse; my wife would kill me if I got arrested. So I think the limit of my protest will be a grumble to the landlord about the price of a pint. I definitely won't be doing anything as stupid as throwing fire extinguishers into large crowds off of tall buildings..

This is more my revolutionary pace these days..

Photograph: Richard Jones

PROUD TO SERVE by Jo Ann Santangelo

This being Veteran's Day in the U.S. (and Armistice day in the U.K.) I thought it only relevant to post something related to the military.

Photographer Jo Ann Santangelo has produced a series of portraits and some multimedia on the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender American military who served in silence or were discharged under the current Don't Ask, Don't Tell law. This is a situation that, personally I find ridiculous. It is institutionalised discrimination and should stop. Regardless of what I think of the Military in general (I'm no big fan of war, let's put it that way) if someone wants to do this job, their sexuality should have no bearing on their ability to do it.

Air Force Coin of Airman First Class Kelsey Snipes, US Air Force Feb 17 2009-Nov 5, 2009. She was discharged after her roommate reported her for homosexual activities. Kelsey was an Aerospace Medical Services Apprentice (Medic) Stationed at Sheppard AFB Wichita Falls, TX

The work is on show in New York at the LGBT Center, 208 W.13th Street (7th/8th Ave). There will be an opening reception and a moderated panel today, November 11th from 5:30-9:00pm.

There is also a self published book of the project for sale on her website.

Check it out.

A Lincoln Photograph

"A Capitol Police officer saw us shooting frame after frame of the same nondescript spot and came over to ask, rather menacingly, what we were up to. (Um, sorry – just taking exterior photos of the most famous public building in America. Clearly we must be terrorists.)"

A little slice of photo history here.