Tag Archive: photo battle


Déjà Vu in 2012

Scott and I began sharing pictures with each other when we met at the University of Washington – a practice that ultimately became Dvafoto – and we’ve always been interested in what we call “photo battles”, instances of photographers publishing similar photographs either from the same event or the same place shot years apart. One classic example is the pair of photographs of a boy on a tank in Chechnya taken by James Nachtwey and Christopher Morris in 1996.

We’ve posted a few of these ‘battles’ on Dvafoto over the years but I have to hand it to Time Magazine photo editor Phil Bicker for putting together a fantastic post and gallery of 73 pairs of images from the last year that show off photography déjà vu on the Lightbox blog. Read the whole post 2012: A Year of Déjà Vu for intriguing descriptions (and categorizations) of the different kinds of photographic referencing that take place, from photographers repeating themselves to pure coincidence half a world apart. Bicker also wrote a post in 2011 about photographers who travel together, particularly in war zones, coming up with similar pictures in another great post Two Takes: One Picture, Two Photographers.

Perhaps our contemporary, collective déjà vu is trigged by the news cycle’s constant hunger for images. Photographers, after all, do sometimes document annual events — at the same time and place, year after year— as if nothing at all has ever changed, or ever will change, at that location.

Documentary photography, meanwhile, raises its own breed of déjà vu. Photojournalists often travel together and work side by side at the same event, documenting the same moment—seeing the same things, taking the same pictures. Even when working independently, photographers are not immune to conscious (or subconscious) mirroring, and the 20th century has provided a litany of masters—Cartier-Bresson, Klein, Evans and Frank come to mind—who have influenced entire generations of image makers. After all, we all want to pay homage to our forebears and our heroes. Is it so surprising when, paying tribute, we veer into imitation?

-Phil Bicker, Time Magazine’s Lightbox.

Worth a look: Lynsey Addario “On Assignment: Taking Time Out to Heal”

Lynsey Addario for the New York Times - A dust cloud envelops one of the remaining soldiers after the helicopter evacuation.

Lynsey Addario for the New York Times - A dust cloud envelops one of the remaining soldiers after the helicopter evacuation.

Perusing Lens, the NYT’s new photojournalism portal and an example of photo webdesign done well, the above photo by Lynsey Addario jumped out at me in the short slideshow “On Assignment: Taking Time Out to Heal.” The shot looks like what the situation would’ve looked like 5 minutes after Larry Burrows iconic 1966 picture from a Hill 484 south of the DMZ in Vietnam:

VIET NAM - 1966: Wounded Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jeremiah Purdie (C) being led past stricken comrade after fierce firefight for control of Hill 484 south of the DMZ. -- Larry Burrows./Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images -- Jan 01, 1966

VIET NAM - 1966: Wounded Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jeremiah Purdie (C) being led past stricken comrade after fierce firefight for control of Hill 484 south of the DMZ. -- Larry Burrows./Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images -- Jan 01, 1966

Addario is currently recuperating after a car crash in Pakistan that also injured Teru Kuwayama and took the life of fixer Raza Khan. Our thoughts go out to Raza’s family, and we hope for a speedy recovery for Addario and Kuwayama.

World Press Photo followup

Following up with Anthony Suau’s win in the 2008 World Press Photo contest, there’s an interesting behind-the-scenes interview with the photographer over at Editor & Publisher, ominously headlined “World Press Photo, Pulitzer-Winning Photographer Struggles to Find Work” (Thanks to Tom Leininger on the APAD list for the tip). There are some interesting revelations in the piece, not least of which is that Time magazine never published the photos in print. Today, the magazine has published two galleries of his work online, “Best Photos of the Year, 2008: The American Economy: Down and Out” and “Prize-Winning Photos: Struggling Cleveland.”

Also of interest, PDNPulse tracked down an essay by Cleveland Plain Dealer photographer Gus Chan covering the same story and same detective in January 2008, nearly 3 months ahead of Suau. Chan’s photos are good, certainly, and seeing the two essays next to each other is a welcome reminder of the value that individual photographers and the notion of authorship bring to the photojournalism. We may just be pushing buttons on a camera, but there’s a whole lot more that goes into it…

Revisiting Mostar

After reading Safe Area Gorazde last week, my mind has absently been thinking about Bosnia, which holds a special place in my heart. While researching something else (another post coming soon..) I came across this Josef Koudelka picture from Mostar, which is a city in western Herzegovina that was the site of some of the worst street to street fighting of the Bosnian wars. Notable too because it featured all three of the major ethnic groups, Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims), Croats (Bosnian Catholics) and Serbs (Bosnian Orthodox). It was also the site of one of the worst symbolic moments of the war, when a Croatian tank commander (who ironically was a theater director, I’ve been told) directed his cannon at the Stari Most bridge, which spans the mythical Neretva river in the center of the Turkish quarter. It destroyed a cultural landmark and point of pride for all Bosnians that was built in 16th Century.

(c) Josef Koudelka, Magnum. Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1994.

(c) Josef Koudelka, Magnum. Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1994.


Due to the symbolic significance of this bridge, and its new status as an UNESCO World Heritage site, it was amongst the first historic structures rebuilt following the war, at an estimated cost of 12million Euros. Koudelka returned in 2005 and took this picture:
(c) Josef Koudelka, Magnum. Mostar, BiH, 2005.

(c) Josef Koudelka, Magnum. Mostar, BiH, 2005.


I was in Mostar for a week in 2007. It is an amazing place, and that bridge is an amazing sight. It is known for the Mostari, who perform for tourists by leaping from the 20m tall span into the swift, shallow and disturbingly cold river. And a youtube video of their jumps at the annual Mostari festival. People die every year doing this, I’ll add…

‘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.