Tag Archive: antonin kratochvil

“There is a division in photo reportage” – Antonin Kratochvil

Antonin Kratochvil writes with Michael Persson an interesting and still-timely piece about modern photo documentary / photojournalism in a 2001 report from the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University: “Photojournalism and Documentary Photography: They are identical mediums, sending different messages.”

There is a division in photo reportage. There is photojournalism and there are photo documentaries: Identical mediums, but conveying very different messages. Documentary photographers reveal the infinite number of situations, actions and results over a period of time. In short, they reveal life. Life isn’t a moment. It isn’t a single situation, since one situation is followed by another and another. Which one is life?

Photojournalism—in its instant shot and transmission—doesn’t show “life.” It neither has the time to understand it nor the space to display its complexity. The pictures we see in our newspapers show frozen instants taken out of context and put on a stage of the media’s making, then sold as truth. But if the Molotov cocktail-throwing Palestinian is shot in the next instant, how is that told? And what does that make him—a nationalist or terrorist? From the photojournalist, we’ll never know since time is of the essence, and a deadline always looms. Viewers can be left with a biased view, abandoned to make up their minds based on incomplete evidence.

Worth a Look: “Our World At War” by the photographers of VII and the International Committee of the Red Cross


Caucasas by Antonin Kratochvil -- part of Our World At War by VII and the International Committee of the Red Cross

VII and the International Committee of the Red Cross have just unveiled their globe-spanning project documenting current humanitarian crises, “Our World At War.” The work includes: Lebanon by Franco Pagetti, Afghanistan by James Nachtwey, Haiti by Ron Haviv, Caucasus by Antonin Kratochvil, Liberia by Christopher Morris, Colombia by Franco Pagetti, Philippines by James Nachtwey, and Congo by Ron Haviv.

The financial crisis: in pictures

Marcus Bleasdale / VII - Brokers are seen in the office in London, United Kingdom on Sept. 10, 2008.

Marcus Bleasdale / VII - Brokers are seen in the office in London, United Kingdom on Sept. 10, 2008.

You’ve probably already seen Sad Guys on Trading Floors, but there’s a lot more visual culture to be had with the 2008 financial crisis. I thought I’d waited too long to post this, but with new news about diving markets, now’s the time. Foreign Policy magazine’s excellent Passport blog asks photographers to please leave this woman alone (another sighting) and PDNPulse notices a trader who seems to be posing for the cameras. Der Spiegel has interviewed a few photographers about the difficulty of finding new photos of the financial crisis day after day. The magazine also has a gallery of what they think is the best and worst of bad economy visuals. Magnum’s Christopher Anderson and VII’s Antonin Kratochvil and Marcus Bleasdale have also recently produced work on the subject. Michael David Murphy’s 2point8 clued me into some work on the subject by Hin Chua, too. It’s surprisingly difficult to find solid documentary work on banking and wealth. I do think, however, that Martin Parr is right in thinking that “Wealth to me is as much to me the front line as poverty traditionally was,” as he said in an interview with PDN in July 2008. And over the past year, Redux has published a few tearsheets of portraits of investors on their blog.

What other work is out there of wealth, banking, and the stock markets?

(p.s. There’s been some great radio about the recent financial crisis. From This American Life: The Giant Pool of Money, the second half of Enforcers, and Another Frightening Show About the Economy. From Freshair: Our Confusing Economy, Explained, Was Adult Supervision Needed on Wall Street?, and a recent episode featuring an interview with new Nobel laureate and NYT columnist Paul Krugman. There’s also the daily Planet Money podcast, which is made by the producers of a couple of those This American Life pieces linked above.)

Ирак – rethink-dispatches

Just stumbled upon the new issue of Gary Knight (et.al.)’s newish magazine rethink-dispatches titled Beyond Iraq. In a nice twist for us here at ДваФото (dvafoto .. meaning ‘two pictures’ in Russian) the brilliant and enlightening main photo essay for this issue was done by Russian Noor photographer Yuri Kozyrev and is titled, in Cyrillic script, Ирак. (that is, for you english speakers, Iraq).

I’ve yet to see a physical copy of the magazine (cannot wait to .. saving my pennies for a subscription) but the content online is first-rate and innovative. If you haven’t spent any time there, start digging in to the smart essays, editorials, multimedia pieces and of course the photo essays. Their first issue, Beyond America, featured a great essay titled “In God’s Country” by Antonin Kratochvil.

Further, I must implore you to look Christopher Morris’ multimedia piece that showed up on rethink-dispatches a week or two ago: “The Dear Leader”. Scathing and timely, investigating further (I assume you know his book My America) the (cult of) personality and insulation of US President George W. Bush. Fascinating cross over for a photographer in to documentary film making. It also generated some interesting discussion over at lightstalkers.

Still frame from Morris' The Dear Leader

Still frame from Morris' The Dear Leader

Antonin Kratochvil does Moscow

My electronic ‘friends’ at amazon.com recently gave me a ‘personal recommendation’ for a new Antonin Kratochvil book: Moscow Nights. I hadn’t heard any updates about this in awhile, so thanks for letting me know it is now available for pre-order. I do wonder about it saying ‘Moskow’ on the cover though.

I remember seeing this story when it came out, I think in Vanity Fair. Have a look over at the VII website: Moscow Nights. I remember reading then that it would turn in to a book, sounds like it finally happened. Cool project, can’t wait to see the book and hopefully add it to my collection (I have three others from AK).

Someday maybe we can get M. Scott to share some of his Antonin stories. For those who don’t know him or his work, he’s an amazing, larger than life figure in photography. A living legend and utterly unique. And there is the reputation to go along with it. I only met him once at a VII event in New York but he has been an archetype for me since.. for one, just look at him. I doubt any photographer wears the scarf better.

(c) Antonin Kratochvil

(c) Antonin Kratochvil

Also, check out Antonin’s New Website designed by A Photo Folio, which is owned/run by Rob Haggart (A Photo Editor).

‘Photo Battle’ – Matt vs. Tyler Hicks (NYT)

Another thing that I imagine M. Scott and I will make a regular feature of here is the ‘photo battle’… a little thing we enjoy whenever we find two pictures, by two photographers from different sources, who have shot the same scene. Classic example: Paolo Pellegrin “vs.” Antonin Kratochvil in Basra, Iraq (2003). What are the chances that is Paolo’s shadow in the frame, too?

Anyways, just saw this image in the 9/12/08 New York Times by staffer Tyler Hicks.

Tyler Hicks/The New York Times  People remembered the attack on the World Trade Center, and its victims, in many ways. Relatives and other mourners gathered at ground zero Thursday.

Tyler Hicks/The New York Times People remembered the attack on the World Trade Center, and its victims, in many ways. Relatives and other mourners gathered at ground zero Thursday.

I recognized that photo on the fence, I took a picture of it a few years ago. My photograph from ‘ground zero’ on the 2005 Anniversary of the 9/11 event.

Not a great ‘battle’ but something I noticed. I’m really curious if it is the exact same print on the fence as when I shot in ’05. Hard to tell when the site itself (as evidenced by how the fence looks .. no view anymore of the hole in the ground) has changed so much in the last couple of years.