Friday, March 27, 2009

Editorial photographers shooting advertising?

Unlike a newspaper, I don't use names. I write about issues that may have negative effects on my friends. Therefore my points are broad and not specific to individuals. I try hard not slander but I do want to get my point across.

I just learned that a newspaper staff photojournalist I know is now being asked to shoot an assignment for advertising. The photographer's assignment sheet actually said, "do it and don't complain".

See my post about the "One Eyed Button Pusher".

This is wrong on a couple of fronts. First it's an ethical conflict of interest. Newspaper editorial departments and the advertising departments are separate. They are separate for a reason. Newsrooms can't function impartially when advertisers are dictating terms and conditions to the money they spend on advertising with a newspaper. Example: If an advertiser is selling products that are killing people does the paper hold back on reporting it? If they're a large advertiser I'll bet they'll wait until another media outlet picks up on it first before reporting it? Then they don't have a choice and the decision is simple to report. You can bet discussions like this have already taken place in executive conference rooms for years.

Secondly the photographer was hired as an editorial photographer to cover the news, not as an advertising photographer. They're different jobs that require different skill sets. Advertisers should submit their own photography. Talk about keeping the economy going there are commercial photographers out there that live on this revenue.

All an advertiser needs to do today is call the Publisher and wine! Remind the Publisher how bad the economy is and that the newspaper industry is in the toilet. I can only imagine the conversation. You need my advertising dollars to survive right? If you want my advertising dollars send your photographer and a reporter over here and help us out. Since the screw is being tightened daily the executive management will turn their journalistic check and shamefully send their College Educated Photojournalist to shoot the assignment. Since they know its wrong they'll shamefully write don't complain on the assignment sheet.

This is bad policy by newspapers and I hope it doesn't become a trend.

Photographer of the Year

Congratulation to James Gregg of the Arizona Daily Star. Gregg was named Photographer of the Year 2009 (small markets) by the NPPA's Best of Photojournalism competition.

Gregg was runner up in 2008. He also was awarded 2008 Photographer of the Year from the Arizona Press Club. This is great news for him and the great staff at the Arizona Daily Star.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dog Poo and the Land

Just a short rant! I don't need a picture to illustrate this issue. I was walking in the South Mountain Park the other day when I noticed a consistent problem that concerns me. Help spread the word.

People! You need to pick up your dog poo. Just because your in a very large open area doesn't mean you get to leave your crap behind. This is supposed to be a park for us all to enjoy. Walking past Two hundred piles of dog poo kind takes the joy out of it. Get this, I've even walk past bagged dog poo. People will pick up the poo in a plastic bags put they'll leave the bag behind on the ground! What the &%$#.

What has happened and continues to happen is that people abuse the land to such an extent that other people (environmentalist) have to step in and lobby for preservation. This equals no dogs, no bikes, no off-road vehicle or vehicle all together, controlled access, permits, fences, signs, rules, government intervention as in cops on patrol and your tax dollars being spent to purchase the land so it can be protected from us. Is this really what we want? Why is the human race so disrespectful to the land? Seriously, I don't get it.

I have travel the local desert area's quit a bit over the past 30 years and it amazes me what I see. For example: Four Peaks Road pull over just about anywhere and you'll find thousands of shotgun shells, refrigerators, washers, dryers, buckets, and miscellaneous junk scattered all over the place. No wonder the land has to be protected. A perfect example is the Salt River Recreation area. You used to be able to drive just about anywhere you wanted to and swim. One time I was in the area photographing when I stopped alone the main road. I got out of my car to find diapers, hypodermic needles, sanitary napkins, bathing suits, class, cans, broken coolers, torn up beer boxes and so on.

I went back the fallowing year to find fences blocked all the dirt roads. Public access permitted only at designated public access areas only. Access totally controlled by guess who, our government. So if you choose to go you will be corralled like livestock in a small area to limit the environmental impact by human beings. How sad!

I'm currently working on a book project about the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. I have been listening and digesting what my sources are saying. They are environmentalist! Somewhat extreme in there views but I know why they feel the way they do. Some people are irresponsible, ignorant slobs and it ruins it for everyone. Sorry!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Fish Creek

Fish Creek Bridge

My wife Lorie Fish Creek, Arizona

The first time I went to Fish Creek I was a freshman or a sophomore at Phoenix College. OK that was either Hmmmmmm 1973 or 74. I have been there many times since but it has been a long time since the last time, maybe 15 years.

It was brought to my attention immediately that my legs aren't what the used to be. I didn't remember it being so primitive. It took us (Toru, Donna, their 2 dogs, Lorie, Nixon our sons dog and myself) close to an hour to go 1/4 of a mile back into this canyon. Granted we stopped and looked at every little pool there was. But still its a very ruff trail covered completely with giant boulders, medium boulders, small stones and sand. As a matter of fact there isn't at trail at all. You're blazing your own trail for most part. Over rocks the size of cars and back and forth through the creek. There isn't a smooth section anywhere. As a result not a lot of people go back there. It's primitive, beautiful, extreme and hasn't changed at all in all those years.

** If you bring dogs please pick up after them. Dog poo is not native to the natural environment so please leave nothing behind.

New website comming in days I hope

It seems tough to find the time to keep the blog a going these days. I apologize to those who read this on a regular basis. I have been working hard getting my new web site updated and finalized. I am seriously hoping to have a launch by March 26.

I must tell you it's a lot of work to find the photo's you want, edit them down to my very best and prepare them for final presentation. It sounds easy enough but it really isn't. I have thousands of pictures I have taken of the years. Fortunately, I am fairly organized.

The web sites content is very important to me of course so I don't want to dilute the good work I have with mediocre work. It's a long process as is everything I'm finding out is these days.

Once this is done, I hope to move forward and begin to market myself more than I have. Hopefully I'll find some clients who can appreciated what I can do for them. I can't wait to get working again.

In starting a business as subjective as this their are days when things are moving along as planned and their are other days you feel like you haven't accomplished a thing. Like my friend told me once when its time to look back you'll see you have done a lot, its just not so easy to see at times.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Good God!

Do you ever think your getting ahead? Sometimes I think yes but with every turn their is another learning curve just waiting to stop me in my tracks. Here's one for you!

I'm trying to use Slideshow Pro for Lightroom so I can use slide shows on my web site. Sounds great right, but their is a small problem that leaves me in a perpetual state of frustration.

First you get slideshow Pro software. Yip Pee !!!!!! I got it for Lightroom so I can integrate into my work flow. Yip Pee again!

I'm off an running! BUT WAIT! Not so fast this is to good to be true. All of the sudden the gallery I'm working on disappears. OK! I'll wait, it just rendering or doing something in the background. Five minutes is all I can wait. Its not working! The slide show I am modifying disappears again and again. Restart! Start all over. Time and time again something goes wrong and it doesn't work.

So like a good man I go to slideshow Pro to look for trouble shooting. I found a user forum. I'm thinking OK lets take a look. To my surprise there are thousands of posts. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! &%$()$@_%##@^(^(*^&$.

Now I have to learn how to navigate my way through the forums. Jesus, mother of God can I ever catch a break.

This is hardly an endorsement for slideshow pro. Why is it that software companies sell software that have bugs and it's up to the users to figure out the work around. This frustrates me to know end.

Monday, March 9, 2009

One eyed button pusher

Chihuly blown Glass Desert Botanical Gardens

A couple of interesting topics came up about photography I have found interesting this past week.

I was speaking to a friend who now works for a small newspaper in the Southeast. She brought up an interesting topic that I though was worthy of discussion.

She said at the paper she works at the owners don't put a lot of effort into the online product. They don't do video or slide shows. What she is finding to be her biggest challenge is going out and getting the definitive shot that best illustrates the story or the event in one or two pictures.

The challenge is with her previous newspaper jobs were the priority is coming up with 20 pictures for the web slide shows. Now she has to find the definitive shot! If haven't done that before let me tell you it is challenging and very subjective.

This information came to me as no surprise but it is the first time I have heard it with my own ears. The cause and effect of the run and gun photography mentality at most newspapers today.

For the entry level photojournalist and those who have survived the lay-offs its all about the web were good pictures are homogenized into slide shows.

When the slide show concept was becoming a priority at the Tribune Newspaper many of us pushed back. I argued that quality would drop and it is impossible to go to an event and turn in 20 pictures that have the quality standards of the print product. To no avail the rush to multimedia was ON and getting page views (clicks) was the priority. Slide shows are now the norm when covering any event for a community newspaper.

The executive management said quality doesn't matter. We (that's us as journalist) were the only one who cared. The readers could care less. It's good enough. I was absolutely shocked that an executive editor would be steering the business under this standard. Its good enough I heard on several occasions. I knew the end was near, at least for me.

There is a lot to be written on this topic. Does it really matter? Is content important anymore or is it only about advertising revenue. Are the standards important anymore and to whom? Do advertisers care about content. What is the future for newspapers and the web. I have seen slide shows on Gannet sites that have over 100 images on them. Seriously, who has time to look at all these bad pictures?

I would like to use a quote from a former editor of mine. Have community photojournalist become "one eyed button pushers". There is no respect from the public or even your own editors anymore in this profession. Case in point entire photo departments have been laid off from newspapers across this country. Think about it!