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Posts Tagged ‘Picone Documentary Workshops’

The Crush – Covering Egypt’s Elections by Ed Giles

In Photography News on June 21, 2012 at 2:57 AM
Supporters of secular presidential candidate Amr Moussa gather at a political rally during a tour by Moussa’s campaign of the Nile Delta, Egypt, May 18, 2012. Photo: ED GILES.
Photographs and Story by Ed Giles
 15 months after dictator Hosni Mubarak was pushed out of Egypt’s presidency by countrywide street protests, Egyptians prepared to choose their next leader. A Thirteen candidates presented themselves to Egyptians as country’s best new leader, one who could show the way to a country in chaos after years of dictatorship and over a year of post-revolutionary uncertainty.
Around a week before the vote, I traveled to the Nile river delta, east of the coastal city of Alexandria, to cover the campaign one of the front-running candidates, Amr Moussa. A former head of the Arab League and foreign minister to Mubarak, Moussa appeared to be one of four or five candidates likely to be Egypt’s next leader. As Moussa’s campaign bus traveled across the long, flat delta roads to the working-class town of Edko, we passed factory after factory, through small towns and past small shopfronts often lit up by a single electric bulb. Far from the urban metropolis of Cairo, we traveled through areas much better representing the ‘real’ Egypt – a country struggling to bring most of its population out of poverty and under-employment into modernity.
Moussa’s  campaign bus arrived in the town centre of Edko, weaving through thick traffic to arrive at a large field set up with a stage and festival lights. Thousands of men filled the field, packing toward the stage and upon seeing the bus arrive, forming a dense crush around the candidate as he moved toward the stage. Moussa, nearly being carried by his security and the crowd packing around him, waved and saluted to the crowd that were barely containing their excitement.
A horse bucks during a rally for supporters of presidential candidate Amr Moussa in the Nile Delta, Egypt, May 18, 2012. Photo: Ed Giles.
As Amr Moussa took to the stage, a handful of men on white horses moved toward the stage amongst the crowd, who were now acting like the fans of a platinum-selling rock musician. The combination of noise, light and densely packed men proved too much for one of the horses, who bucked and threw its rider into the crush. Men and young boys surrounding the horse dived away from the wild animal while two others tried to get it under control. Soon enough, the Amr Moussa show went on as the bucking horse was removed from the scene.
Moussa spoke, and the crowd continued to get more and more wound up. Men clamoured to get to the front and within reaching distance of the candidate, and others simply stared at the candidate with tears rolling down their cheeks and hands cupping their open mouths.
As Moussa wrapped up the show, I found myself a quiet spot near the rear of the stage so I could take a minute to change lenses, knowing that the low light off stage meant I would need to lose the zoom lens and be back on my fast wide-angle prime. Suddenly the show began to move quicker than expected, and Moussa’s security phalanx moved to contain him in a ring of heavies, quickly pushing toward the edge of the stage and stairs. Of course, I was still changing lenses, one in each hand, as the wall of Egyptian security men closed the gap between me and them, forcing me to the edge of the stage.
In one very fast move (I’m still not sure how I pulled this off), I spun the small prime lens onto my camera, dropped the zoom into my camera bag, and took the jump off the stage into the crowd below, nearly landing on top of a colleague who had already dropped down the stairs. Hitting the ground, I barely had time to make sure my kit was all with me as the men around me crushed in, trying to touch Moussa as he descended from the stage.
Secular presidential candidate Amr Moussa salutes supporters as he leaves the stage during a campaign event at Benha in the Nile Delta, Egypt, May 18, 2012. Photo: ED GILES.
As I turned around, Moussa was already coming down the stairs, helped by his security heavies, waving to the crowd in what I have to admit is a slightly odd gesture that brings up some historical connotations for me and maybe for others. Some in the crowd saluted back, but most just crushed further forward to try and touch Moussa himself. Barely making it onto the bus after Moussa’s men rushed him through the crowd, we snaked through the traffic that formed a convoy in front of and behind our bus, off to the next town on our whistlestop tour of the northern Nile delta.
As Egypt’s political transition grinds onward, it’s events like this that have given me a real window into what is happening here. THis country of over 80 million people have been experiencing ‘open’ democratic elections for the first time in their history, and the process is wild and raw. This is a place that has experienced dictatorial military government for the best part of two generations, with monarchy supported by the British empire and occupation by the Ottoman empire before that. Politics here is not the same as it is for us in Australia or other western countries, where we have become cynical and used to the scripted performance of candidates. Despite the many flaws in the process, the Egyptian presidential elections have given many Egyptians the distinct impression they have a voice, that they can indeed reach out and touch the powerful for the first time in their lives.
Ends

Say “People”.

In Random Moments on May 2, 2012 at 6:47 AM

PHOTOJOURNALISM NOW by Alison Stieven -Taylor

In Photography News on April 25, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Friend and colleague Alison Stieven-Taylor has a new blog – PHOTOJOURNALISM NOW
Engaging reads in symphony with astute analysis and commentary on photography.
For a insiders view on the future of photography: read here

I AM NOT A DSLR – I AM DIFFERENT – I AM A FUJIFILM / X – PRO 1

In Photography News, Street Photography on April 23, 2012 at 8:41 AM

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I am on the Star Ferry shooting pictures at twilight while crossing Hong Kong Harbour. The sun retreated hastily and out rolled a piercing black and blue sky. Iridescent. I love this time. I love this light. A time where day transitions to night and just for a fleeting moment – it is neither. It is exciting and ambiguous. Given the consternation concerning the performance of the auto-focus of its predecessor, the x/100, I was keen to test the X Pro 1’s focusing ability.  As a photographer you are aware that you need to work in nano-seconds because light and color is on the wane and what is so beautiful now, soon will vanish. So I did work fast, two of the authored images are in this short slide show (click on post heading to see images larger if you like) above. One is the Asian girl wearing a faux polar bear head (hat) and the other is a picture where I focused on a thick translucent plastic sheet rendering a cruise liner that it framed, soft and dream like in the background. The ferry pitched from side to side in challenging low-light conditions and I took a score or two of images during the crossing from Kowloon to Hong Kong. The X-Pro 1 did not miss a beat in terms of responsiveness and the auto-focus locking onto the subject. This performance was repeated with several early morning walks photographing Hong Kong waking up to a new day as well. During my early morning wanderings I purposely sought out scenarios to make images that involved shooting through glass, against highly reflective surfaces, in shadow zones and at times in low light. This is apparent in the image of tea being poured by a waitress, shot through a heavily steamed coated window. Again, the camera did not miss a beat. It was smooth and seamless with the autofocus doing what I expect autofocus to do – focus accurately in minimal time. None of this searching searching – help me – I am lost! No whirring in and out. It focused with conviction. Similarly to the X/100, I suggest that one of the great advantages of this camera is its classically beautiful and understated retro-design. It is not (although often wanted to be) a high end DSLR. I am personally very happy that it is not a DSLR.

Said objectively, the Hong Kong Chinese are known to be just a little (it is infinitesimal really) gruff about having their picture taken but I did not encounter any negative reaction to working on the streets with this camera, in fact I was completely ignored. This camera is not great for your ego I am afraid. Get used to being ignored. If you want to make a statement swinging a house brick DSLR around your neck that in turn broadcasts that you are a photographer then this camera is probably not for you. And this is where we get to the core of what the X- Pro 1’s psychological advantage is. Because it does not solicit the unwanted reaction that comes with shooting pictures with a DSLR, I am left to document people in original moments. Sounds like visual small change but for me this is super significant in terms of access and time that otherwise may be stunted or stymied by using a DSLR.  When I am on the street with the X PRO 1 I feel a synchronicity similar to that I have enjoyed when shooting black and white film with my Leica M6. Both cameras feel like a natural extension of me. Specifically, the X PRO 1 allows me to arrive at the creative conclusion, I want.

So the proceeding is what I think is attractive and important about the X-PRO1 but there are a few fixes that Fuji could consider in their continuing evolution of this ground-breaking camera. None of the following are hugely significant and nor did they compromise me while shooting pictures on this weekend in Hong Kong. It is more about a little fine-tuning needed.

They are:

  1. The exposure compensation dial can still be in inadvertently moved to +1 or -1, -2 Stops (or similar) this needs a locking mechanism.
  2. The Q button is easily activated when not wanted. Again, this needs a rethink in terms of design. As with the exposure compensation dial above this seems to happen by simply diving into my shoulder camera bag to retrieve the camera.
  3. The clicking chatter sound as the aperture blades automatically adjust during exposure would benefit in being less audible.
  4. The 60mm F2.4 lens appears to search significantly while focusing and  in general takes longer to achieve focus.

In conclusion, similarly to the x/100, the X – Pro 1 is a result of a forward thinking Fujifilm company who have displayed significant creative courage in bringing this camera to photographers.  The things that make this an advant garde and ground – breaking camera far outweigh the few minor fixes (cited above) that need to be made. Within this context a suggestion I do have for Fuji is; instead of going the compact camera route of sales thinking/marketing i.e. pack as many features as possible into a smallish camera in an effort to be competitive in selling as many cameras to as many people as possible, perhaps this could be rethought with the idea of  reducing the X-Pro 1’s many features? Thereby edging the X-Pro 1 closer to a digital version of a Leica M4, M6 or a Voigtlander Bessa R2A. This I suggest, would be enormously attractive to professional and serious amateur photographers alike. Simplicity is still a much sought after desire. Just a thought?

The fact that Fuji have brought this hybrid camera to us from inception to reality in such a short window of time is extraordinary.

Something tells me that Leica must feel like they have had their cage rattled a little?

Fujifilm have a habit of wooing us and thrilling us. Hang on for the fast ride it is only going to get better from here.

Melbourne Masterclass with Jack Picone and Stephen Dupont June 9 – 10, 2012

In Photography News on April 20, 2012 at 1:27 AM

On June 9-10 2012, Stephen Dupont & Jack Picone will be conducting a Masterclass in the Michaels Media School. In association with FUJI Film and the new FUJI X-Pro1 camera, this exciting masterclass will be structured as an intensive two day program that will include portfolio reviews, critiques, presentations, films and other activities. This will be the Melbourne stop of an international Masterclass tour!

                                                                        © Photograph by Kathmandu workshop participant Kate Walton
In picture Stephen Dupont (top) and Jack Picone (bottom right) at work in Kathmandu, Nepal during our Kathmandu workshop. Our next week long international workshop will be in Luang Prabang, Laos from 9th July – 14 July. Full details can be viewed here.
Our next two day Masterclass in Australia will be held at Michael’s Camera Store, Melbourne. Please view details and book  here:

Rennie Ellis | This is the show

In Photography News on February 8, 2012 at 8:16 AM

Something tells me this will be an amazing show and not to be missed.

Core Exhibitions Foto Freeo 2012

In Photography News on February 8, 2012 at 5:51 AM

Fujifilm Professional and T&G Publishing have selected 10 of Australia’s finest contemporary photographers for this unprecedented publication.

They were invited to explore their creativity using Fujifilm’s recently developed, compact, new generation Finepix X100 digital camera, submitting 10 photographs each for publication.

Read more about  the 10×100 book project I took part in here and its subsequent inclusion in the core exhibitions of  FotoFreeo 2012

The venue is Fremantle Prison – 10 x 10 Australian Photographers, including Tim PageJohn OgdenJack Picone, Brad RimmerMax PamMarian DrewNarelle AutioLee GrantHeidi Smith and Louise Whelan.

Leica Slayer? I think so!

In Photography News on January 29, 2012 at 12:13 PM

The Fujifilm X-Pro 1

Story by Andrew Fildes
 
20 Jan 2012
 
 
 
 
If Fujifilm is becoming known as something of a maverick manufacturer, its latest product announcement will do little to dispel the reputation. Fujifilm’s show-stealing unveiling at this year’s CES trade show in Las Vegas was the X-Pro1, the first mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera body directly aimed at the pro market.
If Fujifilm does not leap to mind as a manufacturer of professional equipment, then you’ve missed a lot of history. Fujifilm made a series of highly regarded big rangefinders for 120 rollfilm in the 1990s dubbed ‘Texas Leicas’ – some even had interchangeable lenses. They also helped build the remarkable Hasselblad X-Pan panoramic 35mm and other Hassleblad models.Then, last year Fujifilm had an unexpected success last year with the X100, a fixed (28mm) lens rangefinder with a unique hybrid finder, old-school manual controls and an APS-C sensor. A gorgeous thing and while some couldn’t cope with its quirks, many loved it for the image quality. The X-Pro1 takes the X100 to the next level.

So what is the X-Pro1 – another mirrorless compact? Oh no. It is a Leica M killer. The first autofocus rangefinder since the brilliant Contax G-series in the 1990s. Key features are a unique 16-megapixel Fujifilm APS-C sized CMOS sensor with no no anti-aliasing filter and the same style hybrid-optical electronic viewfinder as the X100. There’s also a three-inch LCD with 1.23 million dots of resolution and Live View.

Three lenses will be available for the camera initially – and none of them are zooms. An 18mm f2 pancake wide, a 35mm f1.4 standard and a 60mm f2.4 macro (or portrait) – that’s 27mm, 53mm and 90mm equivalent. It is expected Fujifilm will release a further six lenses over the next two years. In 2012 we’ll see a 14mm f2.8 wide (21mm equiv.) and an 18-72mm f4 stabilised zoom (27-108mm). In 2013 there will be a 23mm f2 (35mm), a 28mm f2.8 pancake (42mm), a stabiised 72-200mm f4 (108-300mm) and a 12-24mm wide zoom (18-36mm). Zooms on a rangefinder? Fujifilm says the hybrid viewfinder remains fully functional with both zoom and fixed focal length lenses. The Fujinon lenses are likely to be extremely good. There is a long tradition there too.

The back focus distance is a wafer-thin 17.7mm which means that just about any brand of manual lens can be fitted with an adapter – we understand that Fujifilm will offer a Leica M adapter at some point.

Leica killer? – it’s about the same size and shape as a Leica M, offers live view, autofocus, finder info and other refinements – oh, and look at that lens logo on the top. Very retro Leica! And the X-Pro1 is a quarter of the price of the M. Expect around $1700 for the body and $2,200 with the standard lens.

More lenses will follow, as will a cheaper version of this model, or so the rumours go. Local stores, such as Camera Electronics in Perth, are taking pre-orders.

The only question left is, when are they going to drop the ‘film’ from their name?

Note: Originally published in  Australian Photography