Photo Contests: Here We Go Again!

I write a version of this story every year around this time: Photo Contest result time. And every year, it’s addressing the same grousing and whining and complaints about everything from non-diversified juries to images being too newsy or not newsy enough. And of course, everybody has an opinion about the winners! Oy vey! Well, you know the old saying about opinions; they are like assholes -- everybody has one. And if you take away nothing else from this article, remember this; No one wants to see your asshole in public!

So, before you put yourself out there in the Twitterverse, please give the tone of what you post some thoughtful and well-mannered scrutiny prior to showing everyone your sphincter.

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The Social Media Eclipse

By Jim Colton

They say that if you stare into an eclipse, you might go blind. Unfortunately for social media, that’s already happened. Using the most recent eclipse is a fine analogy of what is happening to the world of photography…which is ironic as the literal meaning of photography is writing with light.

The huge mass of available images (There will be more pictures taken in this calendar year…than in all of history combined) has managed to block out the light…and with it…the truth. The sheer volume of images now being distributed on every social media platform from Twitter to Instagram to Facebook is astonishing.

Many photos are being put out there without any form of vetting or filtering. People are posting….because they can….everything from snapshots of their lunch to the latest cat videos. But “serious” photography is also being uploaded…many claiming to be “newsworthy”…or at the very least…REAL!

Copyright © 2009-2015 Ryuunosuke Takeshige All Rights Reserved.
Background data © European Southern Observatory:ESO contributors, CC BY 3.0 (Id:eso0932a)

Which brings us back to the eclipse. Yesterday, March 20th, there was a solar eclipse viewable by millions on planet earth. It wasn’t long before millions of pictures were taken and uploaded on the internet. One photograph (above) purported to be taken from the International Space Station…was widely distributed and tweeted and retweeted and liked and reliked and before you knew it, hundreds of thousands of people were sharing this glorious image.

When I first saw it, I said, “Damn…that is really cool!” And then…the alarms went off. There’s an old saying that, “If it’s too good to be true…then it probably isn’t.” And another that says, “Believe none of what you read…and only half of what you see!”  I did my due diligence and searched for other frames that might show the sequence.  There were none to be found.  But an image search did find the photo in question…and here are the results:

One:  The photo….isn’t a photo. It’s a CGI (Computer Generated Image)

Two: It wasn’t taken March 20th, 2015 from the International Space Station. It was created in 2009 by Japanese artist Ryuunosuke Takeshige who goes by a4size-ska at Deviant Art:

Mr. Takeshige states on this site:

It's extremely regrettable that my ECLIPSE was used here on Facebook without my permission. I can't say what I have in mind since I'm not good at English.

In the case that you found any websites that infringe my copyright, including the link above, if possible, it would be very helpful if you could warn any copyright infringers not to use my work instead of me. Moreover, informing me of the sites via e-mail will be helpful as well.

Three: As we see and read, this gorgeous creation is now being used worldwide without permission, credit or compensation. (Mr. Takeshige gave me permission to use it as illustration for this blog)

Four: It has been disseminated as “real,” so now thousands, if not millions of people, have been misinformed…or at the very least…duped.

This is only one example of thousands that occur every day. Now more than ever, we need a better filter, which starts with factual postings by conscientious photographers and diligent editors. The cutbacks in our industry have been so severe that not only have we lost institutional history, but many organizations have also lost the basic ability and obligation to fact check.

Truth is the only thing that matters in photojournalism. And it is being eroded every day. Perhaps one day, we will see the light again. 

For more blogs with people in our industry who have far more interesting things to say than I do, please visit: 
A feature of ZUMA Press

World Press Photo Controversy Follow Up

By Jim Colton

In the wake of the decision by World Press Photo to revoke the award for photographer Giovanni Troilo’s work, I am imploring those in our industry to not turn this series of events into a “witch hunt.”  In the humble opinion of this photo editor, matters were (mostly) handled in a professional manner. Questions were asked…and answers were obtained…and then a measured and qualified decision was made on the part of World Press Photo.

As I stated in my original blog, the “Charleroi” story contained some fine images. They were just entered and awarded in the wrong category of a photography contest….period. We cannot, and should not place the blame on the photographer who entered them in the category he thought best….nor World Press Photo who judged them in that category, as they are charged to do.

There is merit in the kind of photography that Giovanni Troilo does. And there is a need and a home for that style of work. What occurred was an unfortunate set of circumstances regarding category definitions…which I am sure will be better defined in the future  in light of these recent events.

I also applaud many of my brethren in the industry for stepping up and asking questions. Please don’t think of us as “photo police,’ but rather concerned journalists who value truth in photojournalism during these very tenuous times.

I will continue to look to World Press Photo to provide us with outstanding images in the future worthy of meritorious recognition. It is organizations like World Press Photo that are our beacons of light. And I for one, wish Giovanni Troilo continued success in his chosen profession. Let us not turn him into a pariah or a scapegoat. He is neither.

For more blogs with people in our industry who have far more interesting things to say than I do, please visit: 
A feature of ZUMA Press

An Open Letter to World Press Photo

By Jim Colton

As a former Chair of the World Press Photo Contest, I am saddened and deeply troubled by some of the results and aftermath of this year's contest.

Every year, without exception, there is always controversy surrounding the World Press Photo of the Year and other winners. That's the nature of our business. We all have different tastes, values and principles when it comes to the art of photojournalism, upon which this venerable contest has always been predicated. And "healthy" discussion is exactly that...healthy.

But this year, perhaps due to the ease and increased value being placed on social media, the contest, the results and subsequent "justification," of meritorious acknowledgement of the winners has reached an all-time high of vilification. This is NOT healthy.

So it is with profound respect that I must, in good conscience, voice my opinion regarding some of those results and post-result press releases.

First: Kudos on awarding Mads Nissen's image of homosexuality in Russia the World Press Photo of the Year The recognition is a bold "political" statement regarding an important issue facing society today.  But let me temper that excitement with a "caution" that judges should use their utmost professional discretion to insure the contest is being judged on photographic merits and not political ones.

Most photographs will have some sort of "political" element embedded in the image. We must be ardent when we are charged with assigning a "value" to it, that the photojournalistic merit and not the political element is driving our decisions. This year's image has been, and can be argued on either side of that boundary...but I have no issues with the judge's decision.

Second: It was stated that over 20% of the finalists were "disqualified" for manipulation of some sort. Again, Kudos for making a stand. But without showing examples or defining exactly what was done that was considered egregious, you have actually done a disservice to the photographic community.

How can future participants know what is considered "acceptable" when it comes to issues like toning when you do not show or explain what was done and why? And at the same time, you award images like the following: which to MY eye looks nothing like reality. Lovely images...but do these not constitute "alteration?"

So as you can see, I am I am sure many are...when World Press Photo says one thing, yet awards a set of images that "appears" to be contrary to your acceptable standards. Perhaps another press release clarifying this decision may also be in order...or  at the very least, please consider publishing some of the 20% that were disqualified so we may better understand the parameters that World Press Photo is using.

Third: This bring us to the last, and most troubling item; Giovanni Troilo's "The Dark Heart of Europe." There is no doubt in my mind that this story fits the category of "contemporary issues." There is also no doubt in my mind, that they are fine images. is beyond the shadow of a doubt in my mind, that it is not photojournalism. It is, at best, photo illustration.

“Created” images have no place in the World Press Photo Contest…perhaps other than the portrait category…where the photographer has control of the environment they are placing the subject within. And even within that category, there is a fine line that must not be crossed. But, they definitely do not belong in contemporary issues.

Many of the images in this series “appear” to have been set-up. One in particular which I am having the most difficulty with, is the couple having sex in the car. The photographer stated, “My cousin accepted to be portrayed while fornicating with a girl in his friend’s car. For them it was not strange.” World Press Photo stated, “The cousin had given the photographer permission to follow him on this particular night, to observe and to photograph him having sex with a girl in public. Whether the photographer had been involved or not, the cousin had planned to have sex in the car.

Upon inspection of the image, I am troubled by many things; the placement of the car with headlights illuminating the bushes and the light source that is illuminating the inside of the car (coming from BELOW the couple having sex…and not a roof light) So many questions come to mind. Would you leave the lights on the car on if you were having clandestine sex? Why would you light the interior of the cab from below? To me, the only reasons to do that would be to make a dramatically lit image. It does not look like a “found” moment.

In conclusion, let me say I am saddened to see images like this awarded in a category that has historically produced some of the finest stories of our generation. And I am equally saddened that World Press Photo has decided to uphold the award after some of these revelations were brought to light.

I have always had the utmost respect for the integrity of World Press Photo and will continue to do so…but for me, the polish has been tarnished. It is my hope that it will shine again.

Editor's Note: Since the writing of this blog, World Press Photo has revoked the award for Giovanni Troilo's "Charleroi" story.

For more blogs with people in our industry who have far more interesting things to say than I do, please visit: 
A feature of ZUMA Press

1989: TWTYTW (That Was The Year That Was)

By Jim Colton

We are starting to see a lot of 25th anniversary commemorative pieces for news events from the calendar year 1989. The first to get some air time was the 25th Anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. And now, we are seeing remembrances of the massacre in Tianamen Square which occurred on June 4th, 1989.

All of this got me thinking about what a remarkable news year 1989 truly was; perhaps of the like that we will never see again.  For those of us who were fortunate to be involved in the journalism business during that year and for those who are just curious, here’s an abridged list of events that many of us covered in some manner:

  • January 4: The US shoots down two Libyan planes
  • January 20: George H.W. Bush inaugurated as US President
  • February 2: The last Soviet forces leave Afghanistan after 10 years of occupation
  • February 14: Ayatollah Khomeini issues a death warrant on Salman Rushdie for "Satanic Verses"
  • March 24: Exxon Valdez oil spill
  • April 19 - June 4: Uprising in Tianamen Square, China
  • May 4: US Jury convicts Oliver North for his role in the Iran-Contra affair
  • May 25: Michael Gorbachev named Soviet President
  • June 3: Ayatollah Khomeini dies
  • June 4: Massacre at Tianamen Square
  • August 9: General Colin Powell named first Black Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • August 14: P.W. Botha resigns as President of South Africa
  • September 17 – 25: A Category 5 Hurricane Hugo strikes the Caribbean and the US
  • October 17:  A 7.1 magnitude earthquake strikes San Francisco
  • November 9: Deng Xiaoping resigns from Chinese Leadership
  • November 11: The fall of the Berlin Wall
  • November 30: Czech Parliament ends Communist rule
  • December 15: Romanian uprising overthrows Communist government
  • December 20: US troops invade Panama and capture General Manuel Noriega
  • December 25: Romanian President Ceausescu and wife are executed

It was a transition year for me. I had just left Newsweek magazine after an 11 year stint as the senior photo editor for International news to head up the New York office of a French photo agency called SipaPress as their Executive Vice President and General Manager.

Many of my brethren in the business said I was nuts to leave Newsweek specifically because of the terrible reputation that SipaPress had at the time. (Delinquent payments to photographers, banned from use by the New York Times Sunday Magazine…and much more that I won’t bother to list.)

But I saw it as a challenge. There was no place but UP to go from where they were. And frankly, it was an opportunity for me to get some “managerial” experience that an un-named editor at Newsweek thought I was lacking to be considered for the top position in the photo department for their magazine at that time.

By the end of 1989, sixteen months into my tenure at SipaPress, and primarily because of this extraordinary news year, we had managed not only to pay off their entire debt (The dollar amount had six digits in it….without pennies) but the credit Photographer/Sipa appeared on the cover of almost every major domestic magazine…and in newspapers nationwide.

Of course I am deeply proud of this fact….but even prouder of the photographers and staff who worked with me and the editors and clients who trusted me. I will forever be indebted for their confidence as Sipa struggled to get back into the good graces of ALL publications. (PS: We even managed to get the cover of the Sunday New York Times Magazine…a shot of Boris Yeltsin…so a personal shout out to Kathy Ryan for having faith!)

After three years at Sipa, the un-named editor at Newsweek asked me to come back as their Director of Photography…which I gladly accepted. And looking back, it was perhaps the best thing that could have happened to me. It did in fact give me the managerial experience I was lacking, but it also allowed me to broaden my horizons outside of Newsweek and work with new photographers and clients all around the world….many who remain friends today.

So as we hear of more 25th anniversary look-backs, I too will look back at a historic time in our industry…pre-cell phones, pre emails and pre digital images…where we put our best out there and delivered…time and again.

Here’s looking forward to another 1989….should it ever happen!



By Jim Colton

Anyone associated with photojournalism in the 60’s through the 90’s is familiar with the name Henri Bureau. His image of the burning oil refineries in Abadan, Iran during the Iran/Iraq war in 1980 viewed from the back of an Iranian Soldier that is on his home page will forever be emblazoned in my photographic memory.

His accomplishments are far too many to try and list on this blog.  And his larger than life personality could also not be contained on these pages. His passing this week has left me with sadness but my memory of our times together will always be with me. Let me share but one of our stories together.

Dateline: Warsaw, Poland, June 1979.

Karol Józef Wojtyła is returning to Poland for the first time after being elected as Pope John Paul II. Thousands wait to greet him as his travels will take him all over the country. It is a logistical nightmare for journalists covering the trip. His visit will include the cities of Warsaw, Częstochowa, Krakow and others. And remember, back then….no cell phones, no emails, no digital imagery. Telexes and landlines ruled the day and film was shipped on airplanes.

I was point man for Newsweek magazine whose photographic team included staffers John Ficara and Bernard Gotfryd, local contract photographer Chris Niedenthal and freelancers Ken Regan, Joe McNally and Mario Ruiz. In addition, we had the services of six Sygma photographers headed up by Henri Bureau. A dozen photographers! That’s how we rolled back then.

The Sygma team chose a Winnebago (I kid you not) as their form of transportation during this trip. It even had two mini bikes strapped to the back for better mobility. It was driven by Henri’s cousin who also served as chef for their hungry crew. While in Warsaw, all of the photographers would use the shower in my hotel room nightly, perplexing the room service staff with my request for ten towels a day.

The Pope arrived late on a Friday and the French photo agencies had reached a mutual agreement to not ship any film until the first flight out Saturday morning as there were no other flights back to Paris on Friday night. So they thought. It turned out that the very last flight was delayed and somehow, one of the competing agencies managed to get their film on it, breaking the agreement.

Henri was pissed, to say the least. And not being one to take it lying down, that night, there was a knock on my hotel room door. As I answered, I heard a phrase that I am sure I will never hear again the rest of my life. Henri said, “Jeem, I need your plane!” Newsweek had a Lear jet on standby in case I needed it other than my scheduled Saturday night flight to Paris with our film to be processed and shipped on the Concorde to New York on Sunday morning to meet our deadlines. Henri wanted to fly the plane into Warsaw that night and then back to Paris with Sygma’s film as to not get scooped.

I made the call and summoned the Lear into Warsaw that night. If my memory serves me well, it was at a cost of about $17,000 back then…to be billed to Sygma….something that the folks back at Newsweek in New York didn’t realize when they heard I had ordered the Lear!

But getting film out of a communist controlled country is not as easy as it may seem. So this is how it went down. Our local contract photographer Chris Niedenthal, who knew all the ins-and-outs of shipping, snuck us in to the Ministry of Information office after hours, I sealed the film in clear plastic bags, each twist tied with wire and clamped with an official Polish seal. Chris typed up the bogus paperwork and we were off to the airport.

By this time, the flight crew had arrived and as there were no commercial flights in or out of the country, the only barrier we had left between our film and the pilots on the other side of a cyclone fence, was a lone Polish Army soldier brandishing an AK-47. Niedenthal explained that we had a package for the pilots and presented the bagged film and paperwork to the soldier. Upon inspection, he did not like the way I sealed the packages (I didn’t know at the time there was an actual “seal” impression) and he told us this was not done properly and we would not be able to pass it through. No matter how we pleaded, the soldier was remaining firm….until….

Henri huddled us together and we devised a plan. Chris would yell at him in Polish saying the soldier would be summoned by the Ministry of Information in the morning if he did not allow this film of the Pope’s arrival in Poland to be distributed to the world…Henri would yell at him in French…and I would yell at him in English…all at the same time!

It worked! The soldier was trembling and his eyes were like saucers and with one gesture of his AK-47, we were allowed to toss the packages over the fence to the pilots and they were off to Paris. Sygma would NOT be scooped.

Chris, Henri and I were laughing so hard in the car ride back to Warsaw where we stopped at the Winnebago for some well-earned wine and cheese!

It is this tenacity that I will miss the most about Henri…as well as his impish smile. I would share the trenches with him anywhere...any time…as we did on so many more occasions.

Au Revoir mon ami! I hope the light where you are….is heavenly!


By Jim Colton

Last week, Sean Proctor of the Midland Daily News in Midland, Michigan, was named Photojournalist of the Year (Smaller Markets) in the NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism contest. When informed about this honor by Donald Winslow of the NPPA, Sean said, “Wow, you’re kidding!”Although Sean may have been surprised, what isn’t shocking at all is that the Midland Daily News is the “Little Paper that Could.”

They are no stranger to awards. This small circulation newspaper located in the Tri-cities region of Michigan has garnered their share at major photography contests over the years including a 3rd place this year for Photo Editing Portfolio at POYi for ALL newspapers, regardless of circulation…right behind the New York Times and the Washington Post. And they did so, without a photo editor!

The driving force behind the visuals at the newspaper are three young staff photographers; Sean Proctor, Neil Blakeand Nick King. They are a triumvirate that not only shoots the stories, but they assign them, edit them, lay them out and occasionally write them as well! They do it as a group; with implicit trust in each other.

Although Sean has been an intern at the Citizen Patriot in Jackson, Michigan and the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Virginia, this is his first full time job as a staff photographer at the Midland Daily News, joining the crew in late 2012. Neil Blake has been a staff photographer for the paper since 2011 and had internships at the Herald in Jasper, Indiana and at the Concord Monitor in Concord, New Hampshire. Prior to joining the Daily News in 2010, Nick King was a staff photographer for the Columbia Daily Tribune in Columbia, Missouri as well as serving as a photo editor at the Evergreen Newspapers in Evergreen, Colorado.

In an industry that’s being continually downsized, it’s refreshing to see good work being published on a local level and being recognized on a national one.

Read the interview here:


By Jim Colton

George Eastman, founder of the Eastman Kodak company, once said: "Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography."

Perhaps nowhere is this truer than the art of portraiture. Using light (artificial or natural) and understanding its nuances, is an art form in itself. The subtleties imbued with light and shadow can make or break a compelling portrait. And few in our industry, embrace, admire, love and know light as well as Gregory Heisler.

In addition to the 70 plus covers he has done for TIMEmagazine, Heisler’s portraits have also graced the covers of LIFEEsquireSports IllustratedESPNGQGEO and The New York Times Magazine. His commercial and advertising clients have included American ExpressMerrill Lynch andNike. Heisler’s work has been recognized with prestigious photographic awards including the Leica Medal of Excellence and the Alfred Eisenstadt Award.

One of the portraits he is most noted for is the January 7, 1991 TIME magazine "Men of the Year" cover of the 41st US President George H.W. Bush. The cover line read, "The Two George Bushes," and showed President Bush in two profiles as a multiple "in-camera" exposure, not created after the fact in Photoshop.

After its release, then US Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwaterwas furious claiming the magazine lied to him and only wanted to show the President as a "two-faced" politician which resulted in the temporary revocation of Heisler's and TIME's White House press privileges. They eventually reinstated them and Heisler has photographed several sitting Presidents since that time.

He is currently an Artist-in-Residence at the Hallmark Institute of Photography in Turners Falls, Massachusetts where he devotes much of his time giving back to students there as well as photography workshops and lectures in Maine, Santa Fe and Dubai.

Greg was always the “go-to guy” when I was at Sports Illustrated when we needed a dynamic portrait. I am sure I speak for many of my brethren in the industry who felt the same way. You always knew he would come back with the goods. 

Read the interview here:


By Jim Colton

Photographs speak to us all in different ways. That’s part of the beauty of our craft. When I was a photo editor at Newsweek magazine, I loved images that captured the scene and told the story without the need of a caption. Similarly, when I was at Sports Illustrated, nothing grabbed my attention more than a “belter,” that smash mouth, in-your-face, peak-action moment. 

In auditory terms, I’d categorize those as the louder moments. But a photograph can also speak volumes with a whisper. The stoic beauty of a quiet moment can pierce the heart. Few have managed to do that as well as Erika Larsen. Her work, in a word, is enchanting, simple in structure, thoughtful in composition and always conveying her vision with a quiet elegance. 

Larsen graduated with a BFA and MFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology. After being accepted to the Eddie Adams Workshop in 1997, she embarked on a career in magazine photography. She has also received several grants including a Fulbright Fellowship, New Jersey State Arts Council Fellowship, Women in Photography Individual Project Grant and the Lois Roth Endowment.

Her work has been recognized with a World Press Photo award and has been included in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the Swedish Museum of Ethnography and the AjtteSámi Museum.  Her photographs have been published in dozens of magazines from AARP toWIRED and she was even a contributing photographer for Field and Stream.

Her latest work “People of the Horse,” will be featured in the March 2014 issue of National Geographic magazine. 

Read the interview here:


By Jim Colton

Most of us can recall exactly where we were and what we were doing when we heard about the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11th, 2001.

On that day, most of the nation -- indeed the world -- sat riveted to live television coverage and endless replays of the day’s most gruesome moments. While television captured us for the day, many agree that it was the power of the printed image that burned those moments into our collective memory…still images made by courageous photographers who ran into the chaos while others desperately fled…a chaos later sorted and clarified by photo editors like MaryAnne Golon, then director of photography at TIME magazine. 

Golon received a B.S. in Journalism and Communications from the University of Florida, was the Director of Photography at US News & World Report, followed by 15 years as the Director of Photography at TIME magazine where she earned wide recognition and acclaim for TIME’s 9/11 coverage.  She was the on-site photography editor in Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War and coordinated all of TIME's photographic coverage of several Olympic Games

In a word, Golon is tenacious. The same tenacity she employed just to get to Manhattan from New Jersey that fateful day is but one of many examples of the determination she brings to all her endeavors. Now, as the Assistant Managing Editor and the Director of Photography at the Washington Post, she supervises all aspects of photography for the newspaper and its digital forms.

Well-traveled and worldly, her wisdom, guidance and energy is a beacon that “carries that light of photojournalism,” for all to see. 

Read the interview here:


By Jim Colton

Back in the day when magazine photojournalism was strong and assignments were plentiful just maintaining a visual presence and having a unique style got you work. We all know that’s no longer the case. In the 80s and 90s, Karen Kuehn’s credit line appeared in almost every major publication. Today, like so many photographers, she struggles finding the balance that will satisfy both her heart…and her rent.

Kuehn has a passion for making compelling portraits and telling stories. Her early years included an internship at National Geographic before spending 16 years as a freelancer in New York City and then moving on to New Mexico in 2001 after becoming a mom and wanting to raise her son in a rural environment.

She continues to take the occasional assignment when it comes in, but in the meantime, has immersed herself in a personal project that has consumed her very soul - Burning Man: the annual migration of spirited souls to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. Her latest project, “Cargo Cult,” is a 200 page, 12x12 hardcover book illustrating the event with images and quotes. The book is financed by a Kickstarter campaign. 

This week, we enter Karen Kuehn’s world and talk about issues and events that took her from being a National Park Service Ranger to one of today’s most spirited and committed photographers.

Read the interview here:


By Jim Colton

For those of us who are diminutive in stature -- I am but five feet five inches tall -- we have a common unspoken bond with others possessing ED (Elevation Deficiency) I was always FIRST in line in public school as they entered the auditorium for assembly in size order. It was always me and Bonnie Bruman…the two shortest kids in the school. 

And I was always LAST to be picked on a team for any sporting event. But that stopped happening once they saw me play. As a teen…I was a jock…I admit it….but as a small teen, I had to run faster, shoot better, jump higher…just to keep up with the bigger guys….which I did. Even at my limited size, I could dunk a tennis ball on a regulation basketball court. (That’s ten feet high for those who don’t know)

In many ways, that first rejection may be hurtful, but it drives you…and makes you work harder. And the redemption is even sweeter when people realize it and say, “Hey, that guy is good!” Such is the case with photographerMarco Grob

As a teenager, Marco was rejected while applying for photography at a University in Switzerland.  And today, he is one of the most sought after portrait photographers in the business. But he is not bitter. On the contrary, he considers himself blessed. Commenting on being invited to be an instructor at the Eddie Adams Workshop this past year, he said, “After not being allowed to be a student in my homeland Switzerland - I was asked to be a teacher in my new home, the US…something that went full circle…which I consider wonderful!” 

His credentials are impeccable. His numerous awards include an EMMY for his work in TIMEMagazine’s “Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience,” which is also now part of both the Smithsonian Museum's and the National 9/11 Memorial's permanent collections; as well as recognition by POYi, the Swiss, German and American Art Directors Club and the prestigious Hasselblad Master in 2007.

TIME Magazine’s Director of Photography, Kira Pollack says about Grob, “Commissioning Marco to make a portrait is like knowing you will hit the bulls-eye before it happens. His elegant eye paired with his technical wizardry has yielded some of the greatest portraits for TIME since I joined in 2010. From Lady Gaga to Steve Jobs to President Bush to Hilary Clinton, Marco has proved himself across all different subjects and degrees of difficulty. He is a true pleasure to work with and he sets the bar high.”

This week, we have a conversation with the very talented and extremely personable Marco Grob.

Read the interview here:



By Jim Colton

In the wake of the landmark $1.2 million award reached in the Daniel Morel vs. AFP/Getty Images lawsuit for willful infringement of Morel’s images from the 2010 Haitian earthquake, there has been much discussion concerning photographer’s copyright and how to pursue organizations and publications for damages for unauthorized usage. 

Veteran photojournalist Yunghi Kim is a strong proponent of photographer’s rights and offers suggestions to problems that all photographers now face as they tread through the morass of digital landmines. She also is quite vocal regarding protecting the value of one’s work. Kim says, “without monetary support, in whatever form that takes, photojournalism as an industry is dead!”

Kim espouses the adage that the best defense is often a good offense -- recommending photojournalists take preemptive measures in the present to prevent damage in the future. 

And in contrast to Ben Lowy (recently interviewed for Photo Journal), Kim has strong opinions about iPhoneography and its place in the professional photojournalistic market. 

Kim has been a staff photographer for the Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Massachusetts, the Boston Globe, and affiliated with the photo agency Contact Press Images for 20 years. She’s covered major international stories from the famine in Somalia in 1992 (for which she was the runner up for the Pulitzer) to documenting the lives of South Korean women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese army during World War II.

She’s received numerous major photojournalism awards, including the Olivier Rebbot Award and John Faber Award from the Overseas Press Club and Magazine Photographer of the Year from POYi(one of only two women to receive that award). She continues to give back to the photojournalism community as a member of the NPPA board of directors and instructor for the Eddie Adams Workshop and Missouri Photo Workshop.

Read the interview here:


By Jim Colton

The current state of photojournalism has often been described as a Digital Revolution. I prefer to describe it without the letter “r.” To me, we are experiencing a Digital Evolution. Our industry is constantly changing and those who are grasping on to the ghosts of the past will only lose out on the fruits of the future. 

Over ten years ago, we transited from analog to digital photography and it rocked our world, even though there were many who resisted that change. Perhaps the same could have been said when color photography was first introduced and Black & White purists shunned the idea that we existed in a world of living color.

Today, we have an internet canvas that is being painted with digital brushes of all kinds. Supplementing the print form of newspapers and magazines are web sites and apps with a voracious appetite for images. 

One artist who has deftly used his digital brush to paint his world is Ben Lowy. Lowy has been an ardent supporter and user of the iPhone for journalistic as well as artistic purposes since its inception. 

His travels have taken him to the war-torn countries of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.  He has covered domestic stories like Hurricane Sandy (His Instagram photo of a storm churned wave was used as the cover of Time magazine) and the BP Deep Horizon oil spill in the Gulf. And in all of those places his iPhone was always included in his camera bag’s arsenal. His work has been awarded every major photography prize from organizations such as World Press Photo to the International Center of Photography where he was presented with the Infinity Award for Photojournalism in 2012. He has even had an appearance on the Daily Show with John Stewart!

I have had the pleasure of conducting workshops with Ben and in addition to being a very passionate and talented photojournalist; he’s also a fascinating and often hilarious human being. This week, Lowy discusses several new projects including “Being a dad,” and  everything from drawing cadavers in a St. Louis morgue to walking over bodies in Libya…all while using every tool available to him, including the iPhone.

Read the interview here:


Today my heart is filled with sadness. Our industry has lost a legend and I have lost a friend, mentor and a second father. I just heard of the passing of former Photo Editor of Newsweek magazine Jim Kenney.

Jim was my son Shane’s Godfather. But more than that he was like a father to me. As a scrapping young photo editor in 1977, Jim hired me away from the Associated Press to be an Associate Photo Editor at the magazine as they were just starting to use more color images in the magazine and I was AP’s Color Picture Editor. It was the beginning of a 17-year, two stint relationship that I have cherished as the highlight of my 40+ year career.

I’ve often described those years at the magazine as the glory years of photojournalism. In an analog world, the competition was fierce and making the weekly deadlines included logistics as complicated as hand carrying undeveloped film on the Concorde (which I did seven times!) It meant loading up a Lear Jet with 6 photographers and a correspondent from Washington DC and attempting to invade the island of Grenada and being threatened to be shot out of the sky by an Air Force F-16 fighter jet as we entered Grenadian Air Space.

There are hundreds of similar stories about how Newsweek, with half the budget of our competition, would put up the good fight and come home with the goods on a weekly basis. And at the helm, was the gentle giant Jim Kenney and his trusted Irish side-kick John (Willie) Whelan.

Jim had nicknames for all his staff. Joan (Angel) Engels, Dave (The Coach) Wyland, Tom (The Digger) Tarnowsky (Kenney thought he looked like an undertaker) and of course, Kevin (The Juvenile Delinquent) McVea…well...just because he was.  Me? I was just “Colt,”….as in “Colt…you’re going to Grenada!”

Kenney was also famous for “Kenney-isms.” Examples:  “All socks are white.” Or when someone inquired about a caption, “Where do you want it to be, and when do you want it to be?” And my personal favorite, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit!”

There wasn't a kinder man on the planet. Family always came first with Jim. And “Work hard, play hard,” was the credo we all lived by. There wasn't anything we wouldn't do for the patriarch of that department. Celebrations were as infamous as the Photo Department Christmas parties, to the annual gathering at John Whelan’s house in Marlboro, N.J. where the entire department and their families would get tanked and sing Christmas carols out of tune…but no one cared.

But know this about the man…He cared. Everyone in that department was like one of his own kids. And when personal matters needed to be taken care of, they were dealt with FIRST!

Everything I learned about ethics in our industry was fostered by Jim. We never doctored a photograph, never did anything underhanded just to beat the competition and we lived and died with production created by hard work, ingenuity, and our sweat and tears. We won some. We lost some. But it was always done on a level playing field.

My heart is heavy today. But I am a better journalist and a better man because of this gentle giant. Rest in Peace Jim Kenney. We will always love you and be forever thankful that you came in to our lives.





Looks like all this Hoo Ha about the Why I'm Glad Paul Walker Is Dead story is all a hoax. The writer's Facebook page was just created. And other stories on the website are as absurd as this one. Either way, it was in extremely poor taste and I feel sorry for the creators.

I have removed it from my blog