Category Archive: M. Scott Brauer
Maybe our own M. Scott Brauer, recently returned from a hunting trip in Montana, can give us some better advice than this guy, who just sort of hung out with an Elk while he was trying to take pictures. The video is awkward and asks a lot of questions.
Scott, did this guy do good? Should he have run away screaming? Or stood up and scared the Elk off? (Which was what I was rooting for). Or. better yet, gone for a close-up? Strange video.
I’m excited to announce that I’ll be returning to Russia next week to take part in the Bilateral Presidential Commission Mass Media Sub-Working Group meeting (that’s a ridiculous mouthful…). Last year, I was one of 12 journalists from the US that participated in the inaugural US-Russia Young Media Professionals Exchange (the second exchange will happen in a few months, and applications are being accepted until August 9), administered by the International Center for Journalists and funded by the Knight Foundation. Now, as part of a continued cooperation and dialogue between the Putin and Obama administrations, this meeting next week will be an opportunity for delegates from newsrooms, academia, and government, in both countries to talk about the business, process, and nature of journalism in both countries. I’ll be representing the other journalists who went on the exchange last year to talk about what went right and what went wrong on the exchange.
I’ll be in St. Petersburg for a couple of days and then available Aug. 3 – Aug. 10, tentatively planning to head north from St. Petersburg.
A bit about the exchange: Twelve Americans traveled to Moscow and worked in newsrooms there for 3.5 weeks (I was at ITAR-TASS Photo; others were at Kommersant, Ogonek, Moskovskii Komsomolets, Komsomolskaya Pravda, and other major news organizations in the country) and twelve Russians came to the US to work in newsrooms here, including Oregon Public Broadcasting, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Seattle Times, and the Miami Herald. It was a phenomenal opportunity to take my previous life as a Russian major and mix it with my current life as a photojournalist.
My experience in Moscow involved working closely with editors in the news and assignment desks at ITAR-TASS Photo and go on daily assignments alongside the agency’s wire photographers. You can see some of the images I took during my time in Moscow and a reporting trip to Ufa, Bashkortostan, Russia, above. The nature of these daily assignments was quite interesting, especially coming from a background of newspaper and magazine photography in the US. The majority of the assignment work I saw involved a press conference, media availability, or official opening or tour. Access to politicians and businesses was extremely limited and heavily negotiated for each assignment. ITAR-TASS is a state news agency, but their operating budget, from what I understand, comes entirely from photo licensing and sales. Images of Putin and Medvedev, of course, are the biggest sellers, but the agency frequently covered opposition politicians while I was there. An editor told me the market for those types of images was generally limited to publications in Moscow and outside of Russia. I also got the opportunity to talk extensively with photographers from ITAR-TASS and other Moscow publications, sharing what it’s like to work in the US and learning about being a photojournalist in Russia. Many expressed frustration about the subjects their papers covered, how politics is reported in the media, lack of access on all types of stories, general suspicion of journalists and photographers (one photographer told me about getting harassed while taking pictures of holiday lighting in a busy shopping area of Moscow).
We also had substantial opportunity to meet with editors and journalists at many newspapers in Moscow, though most of these were state-run operations. When asked about their approach to the news, an editor at Komsomolskaya Pravda said, “We support the President,” and said that stance is what guides the newspaper’s reporting. Other reporters at that publication and elsewhere told us that the relationship with the administration was a bit more complicated than that. While living in China, I became accustomed to the Chinese way of controlling the media through daily directives of what can and cannot be published. I expected that something like that would exist in Russia, but in talking with editors and reporters, heard of no such centralized control of newsrooms. Rather, reporters we spoke with seemed to have a general sense of what news would and wouldn’t fly in daily editorial meetings, not unlike newsrooms in the US. Of course, they said their editors would rarely approve a story critical of the administration, but even one of the largest newspapers in the country isn’t afraid to criticize Putin’s party or investigate murders of journalists. That editor, Pavel Gusev, told our group that he had no problem printing journalism critical of the administration, so long as it could be backed up with facts and honest journalism.
One of the biggest shortfalls of the exchange was that we did not have any official meetings with independent and opposition journalists and publications. This was to be expected, but there was opportunity to arrange those sorts of meetings on our own. Online and social-media focused journalism and blogging is a significant force in Russian politics and society, and I only saw glimpses of that.
I’m very excited to announce that I will be participating in the first Young Media Professionals Exchange Program organized by the International Center for Journalists and Moscow Union of Journalists as part of a 2-year initiative between Russia and the US. The program is funded by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Twelve journalists from Russia will come to the US to work for a variety of news organizations here, and I will be one of 12 from the US who will live in Moscow from Nov. 26 to Dec. 21 working for a variety of Russian news organizations. I’ll be working for the ITAR-TASS Photo Agency, a Russian photo news service dating to 1926 when it was known as Photochronica TASS.
As such, I won’t be available for assignment work in the US until the end of December, but get in touch if you have any needs in Russia. I’ll primarily be in Moscow. You can leave a voicemail or SMS at (917) 512-3473 or contact me by email. I’ve already been in touch with a few of our readers in Russia to get together, but if you’re in Moscow, get in touch and I’d love to meet you.
It’s been nearly 10 years since I’ve been to Russia, though one of my university degrees is in Russian Language, Literature, and Culture. I wasn’t much of a photographer when I was there last, but you can see a few images from Vorkuta, Komi, Russia, in the gallery above. In addition to the work I’m doing there, I’ll be posting pictures during the trip to instagram and tumblr.
I’m traveling to Montana for gatherings with friends and family throughout the state from June 20 to July 6 (Lincoln, Great Falls, Red Lodge, the Hi-Line). I’ll be doing a bit of driving and photography for personal projects during that time, so get in touch if you’ll be in the area or have an assignment that needs shooting.
Matt and Scott are about to send out their quarterly newsletters updating clients and friends about the work we have been up to and the plans for the near future. It is the best way to keep up with what we are working on and where our pictures are being published. You can sign up for Scott’s newsletter here, and sign up for Matt’s here, or click on their respective photos below. We both use MailChimp to manage our newsletters and you can unsubscribe at any time, and we promise not to bombard you more than a handful of times per year.
While most of Scott’s recent work is still under embargo or not quite published, here are few highlights from him, based in Boston, Massachusetts:
- Updates on new work, including recent portraiture and political coverage
- Tearsheets from Education Week, MIT News, Montana’s Office of Tourism, and others
- New-to-you images from Tibetan areas of China in my archive
- Travel images from flyover states
- Information about upcoming travel this summer
Some highlights from Matt, who is based in Belgrade, Serbia:
- Lutton will be traveling in the United States from mid-June until the end of August, and tentatively in Africa in September.
- Tearsheets and archive features from recent assignments for The Wall Street Journal, 2012 Magazine and M Le Magazine du Monde.
- Coverage from the Serbian Presidential and Parliamentary elections which took place on May 6, and previewing the second round of Presidential voting on May 20.
- Preview of his new story “The Destruction of Belville” which follows another mass Roma eviction in Belgrade similar to his project Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere from 2009.
Sign up and see the full updates from Matt and Scott when they send their newsletters next week. Thanks again for supporting us and our work, we look forward to sharing more of our pictures and a lot more on dvafoto soon.
I’ve had to wait for a few images to be published before posting my favorite images of last year. A month or so late, here are some of my favorite images from last year. As I’ve written in previous year-end posts, these might not be my best or most widely published or most important pictures of the year, but they’re my favorites. Most of these images are from larger bodies of work or fit alongside other coverage; many are from assignments, but many are not.
It was a year of substantial transition, both personally and professionally. I moved to Boston and developed a host of new assignment clients and stock publishers. I need to send a big thank-you to all the people I’ve worked with over the past year at the Wall Street Journal, Education Week (a couple of my photos are in their Best of 2011), Chronicle of Higher Education, the New Yorker, the Montana Office of Tourism, MIT, Tufts University, BagNewsNotes, CurrentTV, Longshot, Burn Magazine, PHOTO/Arts Magazine, the Ballarat International Foto Bienalle, the New York Photo Festival, Slideluck Potshow, PDN, the Youth Image Project, the Format Festival, 25CPW, the Magnum Foundation and others. 2012 is already off to a bang, and now that I’ve got my feet relatively stable under me in this new locale, I’ll be pushing after some stories I’ve been researching.
In partnership with BagNewsNotes (first post), I’m photographing the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary race this week. I’ve photographed the candidates over the past few months, but it’s crunch time now.
It’s a fast-paced environment filled with a lot of media and political players and a few members of the local public. I’ll post updates periodically here, and BagNewsNotes will have some analysis of the themes that may or may not be seen in general media coverage of the race. The pageantry of it all interests me, but so do the little details hard to see on TV or away from the main events, such as you can see above: Santorum’s gilt-edged Constitution that looks like a Bible, Newt Gingrich’s security team eating cheesesteak sandwiches, the media scrum surrounding candidates everywhere they go, etc.
You can see more from yesterday in my archive: NH GOP Primary – 2012 Jan 5 – Gingrich and Santorum
Editors, get in touch if you need anything from up there.
A discarded pizza box has become a tool for democracy in Boston’s Dewey Square. Handwritten cardboard signs communicate protesters’ messages at OccupyBoston, a tent camp and demonstration in the Financial District of downtown Boston. The gathering is an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement started in late September. Protesters here shout, “We are the 99%” and “Wall Street was bailed out. We got sold out,” their chants echoing off the facade of the nearby Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and other major financial institutions. On Wednesday, the protesters received a big boost of support as they were joined by National Nurses United, the largest nurses’ labor union in the US, and Dr. Cornel West. This came after letters of support were issued for OccupyBoston by the AFL-CIO and other major labor and student organizations.
You can see more pictures from the demonstrations at my archive: OccupyBoston – demonstrations in Boston’s Financial District.
Starting Aug 24 and continuing through the first week of September, I’ll be on the road. I’m starting off in Washington state with a friend’s wedding in Seattle, going to visit family in Montana, and then driving back to Boston without any particular schedule or route, camping along the way. I haven’t decided on which Dakota to go through (though I can feel the call of the roadside attractions of South), nor whether to go down around the lakes or up through the Upper Peninsula and then on into Canada. At any rate, if you’re somewhere along that route and want to meet up, or if you’re an editor and need some pictures in the northern half of the country, get in touch.
Longshot Magazine has just published issue #2 (the third issue of the magazine…) after a frenzy of work this weekend. The theme for the issue was “debt.” As in the past, the magazine’s theme was announced and 48 hours later, a magazine was published with photos, graphics, and a trove of writing created, fact-checked and designed, over that two day period. I’m happy to announce that I’ve got a page in the print issue, featuring the above portraits of people in Boston alongside descriptions of how much they owe.
A small army of editors and designers worked behind the scenes to make the magazine, its web presence, and a radio and podcast component. And all of the magazine’s content was created by another army of writers, graphic artists and photographers. Many of the contributions are available online, but some (including mine) are reserved for the print issue alone. It was an open submissions process during the 24 hours after the theme was announced at noon on Friday, and there are plans to publish online all 672 submissions made to the magazine over the weekend.
As before, the magazine has been getting some good press mentions. There’s a huge list of sponsors for this issue, which includes money from a a kickstarter campaign that raised more than double the desired amount of money. Best of all, through these sponsorships, contributors to this issue will be paid.
One of the founders of the project, Alexis Madrigal of The Atlantic, has published a behind-the-scenes look at how the magazine came about, and Heather Jay Billings has some info about the technology behind the effort.
My submission was a humble effort that almost didn’t come to pass. When the theme was announced on Friday, I was flummoxed. Maybe portraits of payday lenders? maybe a study of bank advertising? None of it struck me. Weather was bad in Boston, though, so it wouldn’t have been fun to take pictures on Friday anyway. Waking up on Saturday, I was struck with an idea to ask people about how much money they owe. With a few hours before the deadline, I was striking out. No one was willing to be photographed and tell me how much money they owed. Then I decided rather than asking for a number, I would ask people to describe how much debt they have and that the portraits should be anonymous. Over about 45 minutes, ten or twelve people let me take their picture and told me about their debt. I squeaked in right under the wire, and thankfully, the editors like the project.