I lived in China from 2007 to 2010, and haven’t been back since. Thankfully, all of that is changing right now. I’ll be back in China for the last two weeks of July, mostly in the middle of the country. Above, you can see a few images from my last year in China that I haven’t shown much. Editors, get in touch if you need anything.
Russian photographer Sergey Novikov wrote in a little while ago to share his project Kola Superdeep. The project offers a glimpse into a remote area in Russia’s Murmansk Oblast above the Arctic Circle that is home to one of the deepest holes ever drilled on Earth. Drilling and research in the area, which borders Norway and Finland, was abandoned in 2008, but a small population remains and Norilsk Nickel continues some mining operations which have a devastating effect on the landscape.
Take a look at the project and be sure to look at the rest of Novikov’s work. I particularly like his series of street portraits in Moscow and Grassroots, a look at Russian soccer fields, which reminds me of Hans van der Meer’s European Fields.
— Peter Nickeas (@PeterNickeas) July 7, 2014
“I found myself barefoot, ankle deep in water, holding the hand of a 17-year-old boy who had been shot during the downpour. I told him to hang in there and that the ambulance was on the way.” -Vincent D. Johnson, He was motionless with his big eyes staring up into the rain
It was a particularly violent weekend in Chicago, with some 82 shootings in 4 days. Vincent D. Johnson, a freelancer for the Sun Times, wrote a moving piece about the watching one of the weekend’s victims die while Johnson kept him company waiting for the police. The piece is well worth a read. It’s part of the Sun-Times’ Homicide Watch section.
Huffington Post has collected tweets and instagram posts of two Chicago Tribune staffers, reporter Peter Nickeas and photographer E. Jason Wambsgans, as they covered the violence, too. As you progress down the sequence of events, the victims keep filling up lines in a notebook.
In his piece, Vincent D. Johnson said he remembered advice from one of his teachers, “You’re a human first and a photojournalist second.” The Columbia Journalism Review just published an article about this very subject, which is more contentious than you might think. I was glad to see LA Times’ Clarence Williams’ toothbrush picture lead the article; before I considered myself a photographer, I attended a lecture by him at my university and the story of that image and what effect it had has always stuck with me. There was massive backlash against the phtoographer and writer for not intervening in the situation, and they won awards for the work. Williams’ work on the story won the 1998 Pulitzer for Feature Photography. The story had a real impact, though. The subjects’ lives were improved as a result of the reporting and Los Angeles and the state moved quickly to reform child protective services there.
Make sure to read CJR’s Are we journalists first? It’s a good survey of the issue.
And while you’re at it, revisit Daniel Shea’s Chicago Fire for Fader from last year.
Following in the footsteps of the ongoing Postcards from America tumblr project, five Magnum photographers and five Brazilian photographers are posting daily photos to Offside Brazil. I’m not a sports fan, but the project appeals to me because it focuses on the social and economic impact of the World Cup games as they happen. I wish there was more text to go along with the project (and I’d bet there will be a book or exhibition of this work in the future) but it’s a fascinating glimpse into daily life in the country from a variety of perspectives.
There’s Jonas Bendiksen’s super slow-mo videos (the New Yorker has a little more information about those, which he calls “Still films”) and Alex Majoli doing his usual interesting work. And there’s Paulo Fehlauer’s triptychs, Barbara Wagner looking at the city of Recife, Pio Figueiroa’s stories of Sao Paolo’s urban nightlife, and Midia Ninja‘s documentation of different protests (Midia Ninja is an independent journalism/activist group in Brazil).
Tumblr might not be the best way of presenting the work, but it helps get the work out fast and to a large audience. There’s a lot to look at, and the project is moving fast. There were three or four new pictures added while I wrote this post. However, the project is definitely worth keeping an eye on and does a great job at providing context to the circumstances surrounding the World Cup as it all unfolds.
We know a lot of people depend on our deadline calendar. We try our best to only list contests with good terms and conditions and which will be beneficial to participants and winners. Generally, this means that the contest must meet the Artists’ Bill of Rights at a minimum.
I was excited when I first noticed a contest for outdoor photography sponsored by Magnum and Filson, the award for which would be a spot in the upcoming Magnum Annual General Meeting masterclass and some of the new Filson camera bags. I looked through the terms and conditions, as I always do, and noticed a rights grab that stated: “each winner shall irrevocably grant … the entirety of the rights in and to the winner’s Submission [to the sponsor] … for any and all purposes in any and all media whether now known or hereafter developed, on a worldwide basis, in perpetuity.” I was surprised that Magnum would lend its name to a contest with such an awful set of terms and conditions, so I sent a few emails. Magnum was founded in order to protect the rights of photographers, after all. In the end, Magnum and Filson worked to fix the terms and conditions and extend the deadline to June 12, 2014.
The contest is now safe to enter, and you should because it’s got some great prizes.
I first emailed Magnum’s general email address and used Filson’s online contact form. I didn’t expect to hear back from those initial messages, but a Filson rep got back to me the next day saying he’d heard from others about this and was looking into it. The original June 8 deadline was fast approaching, though, and there was no response. I decided to email the studio of Alec Soth, one of the photographers giving the masterclass offered as a prize in the contest, and he got right back to me saying he’d get in contact with some of his colleagues about this. The next day, I got a call from somebody connected to Magnum who had been in contact with the CEO of Filson.
Both Magnum and Filson did not want to rip off photographers and would be working to change the contest immediately. He’d explained that there was a lack of communication between the legal team and the people running the contest and that the legal team had drafted standard contest terms and conditions without consulting the photography side of the team. This is actually a pretty standard occurrence; I’ve found that many contest operators just user boilerplate legal language for their contests and aren’t aware that they’re bad for photographers.
Within a day, the contest had been amended to remove the rights grab from the terms and conditions and to extend the deadline to June 12, 2014. I’ve already submitted my entry.
Freelancers—writers, photographers, illustrators, and otherwise—tell us the rates are low, and that Vice (like many other publications) is often slow in paying them. Salaries at Vice Media and the company’s pay rate for contract work were described to us as “a pittance,” “a fucking joke,” and “so low I couldn’t even consider it, it was offensive.” -Gawker, Working at Vice Media Is Not As Cool As It Seems
I’ve never worked with Vice, but have plenty of friends who have, and I’ve heard horror stories about their pay rates and frequent payment delays. This Gawker piece alleges that the Vice empire has been built on wages and assignment rates that freelancers and staffers describe as a “pittance,” and which they often wait months to receive. A former intern told Gawker that they were offered a full-time job at Vice in Brooklyn with an annual salary of $20,000. A high-level editor at one of Vice’s highest-trafficked sites earns under $40,000 per year. Vice has responded to Gawker’s piece: VICE to Gawker: Fuck You and Fuck Your Garbage Click-Bait ‘Journalism’ but does little to dispute the facts of Gawker’s piece beyond some ad hominem attacks and writing that “entry-level salaries range by department and are competitive with comparable emerging media companies in the digital space.” All of Gawker’s sources are anonymous.
Vice has been doing a lot of things right these days. Vice on HBO is a thought-provoking and wide-ranging series. Vice News has been impressive to watch over the last year or so; the reporters there tackle hard news with depth and wit, often on topics and regions undercovered by other outlets. Simon Ostrovsky’s Russian Roulette series on the ongoing crisis in Ukraine is not to be missed. There are creative, weird, and informative pieces periodically published by Vice, such as Mitchell Prothero’s Paintballing with Hezbollah. Vice’s Media Kit (direct pdf link) claims that Vice has over 650 million views on YouTube and the highest watch time of any YouTube channel with original content. Across television, print, and many online publishing outlets, Vice is one of the big successes of the digital media era. The Nieman Journalism Lab had an insightful article about the launch of Vice News which includes some information about the companies financials; selling a 5% equity stake to 21st Century Fox earlier this year means the market value of the company was about $1.4 billion at that time.
Since the Gawker piece came out last week, I’ve seen it posted a few times on social media, and each time have seen comments from freelancers complaining about low rates and long-delayed payments.