December 13, 2010

Nikon-Walkley Photographic Awards 2010 and the winner is....

The who's who of Australian journalism turned out for the 55th Walkley Awards held in Melbourne at the Crown Casino Ballroom on Thursday 9th December. In a double celebration - it was also the centenary of the Australian Journalists' Association - the 'elite' of the journalism world were rewarded for their coverage in categories spanning online news to magazine feature writing, documentary broadcast and radio, and everything in between. Yours truly joined the Nikon table (thanks Kylie and Jools) for the evening. Obviously the Nikon crew were most interested in the photography awards with rousing applause given to Jason South who took out Press Photographer of the Year.

To see the full list of winners (photography) visit this link.

December 01, 2010

Using an iPad for photography portfolios

Photoshelter has an interesting article about using the iPad as a photography portfolio. Thanks for sharing Wayne.

Check it out Photoshelter iPad Story

November 23, 2010

November 17, 2010

Robert Pledge interview

Spent an hour on the phone this morning with photo editor and co-founder of Contact Press Images (New York) Robert Pledge, one of the most knowledgeable, generous and enlightened people working in photojournalism anywhere in the world. Now my brain is literally exploding with ideas (again)!  Robert's interview will feature in an upcoming issue of Pro Photo with an extended article to follow . . . Thanks Robert.

November 16, 2010

Interview of the year

I'm interviewing Robert Pledge tomorrow. For anyone interested in photojournalism Robert is the go-to man with 40 years in the field. Co-founder and President of Contact Press Images (New York) Robert has edited many highly-acclaimed books and curated exhibitions throughout the world, in Amsterdam, Bamako, Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, Dhaka, Lausanne, London, Madrid, Mexico City, New Dehli, New York, Paris, and Tokyo. A major presence in the photographic community, he received the Overseas Press Club's "Olivier Rebbot Award" for the book Red-Color News Soldier, in 2004, which he authored with Li Zhensheng. He commutes between Paris and New York and is in Australia for the Reportage 2010 Retrospective . Am one very happy journalist!

November 15, 2010

Photojournalism isn't dead yet

Neil Burgess may have been premature in calling the time of death on photojournalism. In my feature for Pro Photo on Reportage 2010 the co-founding photojournalists of this groundbreaking festival - David Dare Parker, Stephen Dupont, Jack Picone and Michael Amendolia - share their thoughts on the future directions of social documentary photography and photojournalism.

Reportage 2010 Retrospective on show in Sydney at the National Arts School Darlinghurst until 21 November View program here 

November 11, 2010

Reportage Festival Sydney - Opens tonight

In the midst of a typical Sydney spring deluge, yesterday I visited the Australian Centre for Photography in Paddington to view some of the exhibitions that form this year's Reportage Festival. Stephen Dupont's ongoing essay on Afghanistan is a brilliant body of work. Writer Jacques Menasche, who collaborates with Stephen, sums up the work - "staring life in the eye and in the tripping shutter of the camera life blinks first". Check out the program - Reportage 2010

copyright Stephen Dupont - Axe Me Biggie - on show at ACP Paddington

November 10, 2010

Reportage Festival Sydney - Opening Night Thursday 11 November

The National Art School, East Sydney
Reportage 2010 will be officially opened by Robert Pledge, President of Contact Press Images.

Download the program for Reportage here - Reportage Program

November 03, 2010

What Women Think

My feature on What Women Think about working in the printing industry is in this month's issue of Print 21 magazine.

David Dare Parker Pro Photo

My interview with Australian photojournalist David Dare Parker is the cover story for the November/December issue of Pro Photo. Click on link to read article: Pro Photo Article


October 19, 2010

Angkor Photo Festival Siem Reap Cambodia

The 6th Angkor Photo Festival is being held in November, 20-27, in Siem Reap, Cambodia. This week-long festival showcases exhibitions and slideshows celebrating international and emerging Asian photographers.  This year there's a special Asian Women Photographers' Showcase including an exhibition by Jean Chung who I interviewed at Foto Freo earlier this year. Jean's exhibition is Korea's Forgotten Women - Comfort Women for US Army. To find out more visit Angkor Photo Festival  or follow the Asian Women Photographers' Showcase on Facebook 

October 13, 2010

Moscow by Night

One of Stalin's Seven Sisters - Moscow University
One of the great joys of returning from foreign lands is to select my favourite photos. A great panacea for jet-lag and warding off the post-holiday blues.

September 15, 2010

More on the debate on the lifeline of photojournalism

Another interesting take on the notion that photojournalism is dead can be found on the New York Times Lens blog -  New York Times - thanks Tasj!

Beijing 2009 Alison Stieven-Taylor (C)

September 08, 2010

David Dare Parker

One of my forthcoming feature articles in Pro Photo is on Australian Photojournalist David Dare Parker, pictured here on the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Photo by Ron Blackford September 2010

September 06, 2010

Is photojournalism really dead?

In an article by Neil Burgess on the website Editorial Photographers UK, he writes an eloquent obituary to the death of photojournalism. I agree with him to a certain extent - photojournalism as we know it as in magazines commissioning photographers to create photo stories and essays, may be diminishing, but photojournalists are nothing if not adaptable. 

As an interviewer of photographers I have a particular interest in the genre of photojournalism. If ever there was a time in history for the professional photojournalist it is now. The communication conduits may change, but photos that 'keep the bastards honest' and that prick the conscience of the viewer, will always have a place in the dissemination of news.

Christian Blanchard and Me at Melbourne Spring Fashion Week

Look out for my profile on Christian coming soon . . .

September 02, 2010

September 01, 2010

Beautiful Lucca, Tuscany

Christian Blanchard

Saw Christian's Animalia short film last night, totally blown away, loved it. See a preview of it here, and some of his other work Christian Blanchard and look out for my profile on Christian landing later this year . . .

August 22, 2010

Post Election Blues

The 2010 Election may go down in history as the biggest non-event in Australian politics that left an electorate at once disillusioned, incensed and depressed at the thought that either of the cardboard cutouts that were put forward as leaders will represent our country.

But rather than pointing frustrations at the politicians who by virtue of their vocation are prone to lying and to studiously not answering questions, the collective finger of disappointment and annoyance is pointing at the media. And it’s about time too because the mainstream media in this country has quite frankly lost the plot.

Just consider the ad for Channel Nine’s election night coverage, with an expert team led by… Karl and Lisa from the Today Show. Come on! If that isn’t an indication of how low the media has sunk in terms of credibility taking two morning-show hosts and positioning them as political experts, then I don’t know what is. Or was Nine’s election night coverage meant to be a joke? Given the tone of the coverage in the lead up to the election which could be likened to the same celebrity nonsense that you would expect in a story on what Lindsay Lohan’s mother had for breakfast, maybe it was a joke. But I don’t feel like laughing and nor do many other citizens if the chatter on talkback radio today is anything to go by.

I tuned into ABC radio this morning to hear three callers in a row, and respected political journalist and commentator Mungo MacCallum, say the media were the worst offenders in this pseudo-election campaign. The media turned this election into a tabloid headline worthy of nothing more than lining the Budgie cage. So-called political journalists didn’t nail either Gillard or Abbott on any of the hard questions.

What happened to the media’s traditional role in keeping the politicians honest? Of asking hard hitting questions about policy and intention, rather than the state of Julia Gillard’s relationship with her hairdresser boyfriend, or Abbott’s choice of swimwear? Are these really questions that Australians want answered about the next leader of our country, the person that is going to represent Australia on the global stage, the person that has the power to make critical decisions that will affect our future?

When both ‘leaders’ talked about stopping the boats, no one asked basic questions that might help the Australian people to make up their own minds about the need to stop the boats or not. No one asked how many people flee to Australia each year risking their lives and their families in hope of a better future? Nor did they ask either party how they proposed to stop the boats. There was little if any reportage that gave both sides of the argument. Bias was rampant and information given in sound bites. How can anyone make an educated decision when you get 30 seconds of paid political rhetoric?

On the economic questions there was equal silence from journalists on both sides of the political fence. How many journalists wrote stories and filed reports on how the Libs were going to create a bigger surplus than Labour? What were they going to cut from essential services to facilitate this surplus?  Where was the money coming from? 

Whereas the politicians stuck to their script and remembered everything they’d learned in media training, journalists clearly forgot the basics of their profession – research, ask questions, check facts, check them again and then write an unbiased report.  That may be hard to do if you work for News Corporation, who surprise, surprise supported the Libs again this time around (what concessions Mr. Murdoch may get if Abbott gets in are not made public but you can bet he isn’t touting the virtues of the Libs out of the goodness of his heart). Or for Fairfax who, said one news report, sided with Labour. The mere fact that the media acknowledge the blatant bias should send alarm bells to every thinking person in this nation. Can we trust the media?

Now we have two weeks or so to wait until we find out which Party will form government. And you can be assured the media will treat that debate with the same diligence, scrutiny and impartiality they’ve shown for the election campaign. Why don’t they save us all the trouble of tuning in to the nightly news and reading the newspaper and fast track to the question that is no doubt on the lips of our most intrepid reporters - what colour curtains will Gillard’s partner, or Abbott’s wife, choose for the Lodge?

August 19, 2010

New articles

Both the July and August feature articles in Pro Photo are now loaded onto my website - - enjoy!

August 14, 2010

Enough of the Fear Campaign

I very rarely make public comment about politics, it is not a subject that interests me largely because I don't have any real respect for politicians. But I can't be silent on the Australian 2010 Election, which should be called Election by Fear. Both parties want us to be afraid of everything from rising taxes to dying from cancer - one of the most outrageous ads of this campaign has been Abbott's claim that the Labour Party's health policies will see more Australians die because they can't get medical care.

But the issue that has prompted me to speak out is the Stop the Boats campaign. Abbott and Gillard are as bad as each other with their pejorative rhetoric around the asylum seekers - which in reality don't add up to more than a few thousand people a year, desperate people who have been driven from their homes by true fear, by true terror. What are they guilty of? Seeking a better life for themselves and their children. I am so ashamed of Australia's policy towards these people, our lack of compassion as a nation, our closed-mindedness and our selfishness. 

Abbott and Gillard would have you believe that these traumatised human beings - remember they are people just like you and me, wanting to shelter and feed their family and live their lives in peace - are going to take away our freedoms. Rubbish. We are doing that ourselves by our lack of ability to think beyond what we are told, to stand up for what we know is right, to extend a helping hand to someone for no other reason than one human being helping another in a time of need.

Stand up for Australia and say no to this backward policy that will send us back to the dark ages. Stop the boats? No. Stop the fear mongering and recognise it for what it is: a smoke screen to hide the fact that between the two major political parties they don't have a policy worth debating. They are both resorting to the most basic political ploys - tell the electorate who is to blame for their woes, instill fear and anguish, and promise that they will do better. History dictates that we, as an electorate, should know better than to fall for that tired old play yet again.

End wasteful spending - on the diatribe of fear
Welcome the boats - extend a helping hand and show the world what Australians are made of - compassion, intelligence to cut through the political rhetoric and the guts to stand up for what is right.

August 05, 2010

Feature article on UN photographer Martine Perret

The August issue of Pro Photo features my interview with Martine Perret as the cover story. I met Martine in Fremantle at this year's Foto Freo festival. She was exhibiting photos from her essay on transexuals in East Timor. This is her story.

August 04, 2010

Pro Photo feature on Foto Freo is out

Thanks to Claire Martin, Amy Stein, Narelle Autio, Joy Horwood-Cooke and Magda Stanova for their time and their awesome photos. Writing these articles are food for my creative soul.

June 16, 2010

Max Pam's Atlas Monographs Winner PHotoEspana

Congratulations to Max Pam and Gianni Frinzi of T&G Publishing on taking out the Best Photography Book Prize (International Category) for the 2010 edition at PHotoEspaña in Madrid.

May 28, 2010

Atlas Monographs Makes Top 100 PhotoEspana Festival Book List

Congratulations to Max Pam and Gianni Frinzi T&G Publishing - Atlas Monographs, Max's latest book, has made the top 100 Best Photography Books of the Year exhibition in Madrid. Quite possibly the first Australians to do so, both photographer and publisher.

Foto Freo Femme Fatales

My next article in Pro Photo magazine is a feature on five of the women who exhibited at this year's Foto Freo festival in Fremantle. There are interviews with Australians Claire Martin and Narelle Autio, American Amy Stein, Slovakian Magda Stanova and South African Joy Horwood Cooke.  

Now working on my feature on Martine Perret, a UN Photographer based in Timor who has created a fantastic photo essay on the transexuals in Timor.

(Photo by Claire Martin)

April 28, 2010

More photos from Italy

Urban environments, architecture, layered reflective imagery – these are the creative threads that influence my photographic work. Here are some photos from Lucca and Rome taken earlier this month.


April 01, 2010

What Caught My Eye Today in Milano, Italy

 Milano is so beautiful. And today is reflection heaven, blue skies, clear air, brilliant sunlight. There is still snow on the Alps, visible from the top of the Duomo, the air is cool and fresh. Here are some photos from today's shoot, mostly reflections, but a couple that are not! So fantastic to spend the day shooting, it's been too long since I've had time to indulge, but my love affair with my camera continues . . . how can I not be inspired with such a location.

March 20, 2010

Foto Freo Opening Event

Opening nights are often boring, endless speeches where organisers drone on about the fantastic support they get - which of course is vital to the existence of the event, but perhaps would be better acknowledged in a different environment. And before guests are fueled by alcohol and busy chatting with people they haven't seen since the last gathering. Last night didn't disappoint.

As a social gathering it was a spectacular success. A special thanks to Brad Rimmer who was the best unofficial 'host' I could have asked for introducing me to everyone. I'm always on the look out for interesting people to interview and Martine Perret, a UN photographer based in Timor, is my next subject. I'm catching up with her tomorrow to discuss her work photographing transexuals in Timor. Fascinating.

March 19, 2010

Foto Freo Interview Score

Am in Fremantle, Perth at the moment for the Foto Freo Festival. Arrived this morning from Melbourne. Already viewed five exhibitions and tomorrow am going to interview the five women photographers whose work I've been enthralled by today. 

Joy Horwood-Cooke - who spent two years traveling around Africa in the 1950's. Her black and white photos capture moments that are timeless and still relevant today in terms of sharing the cultural richness of this vast continent

Amy Stein - from New York whose exhibition Stranded is an extraordinary portrayal of abandonment and loss shot over a protracted road trip across America

Magda Stanova - a Slovakian visual artist who incorporates sketches, painting, and photography into her art. Until I saw her exhibition today I wasn't familiar with her work. She is quite unique in her interpretation of photography's role in our lives and her inclusion of words in her work takes the viewer to a headspace that perhaps we wouldn't arrive at on our own - that's the power of art

Claire Martin - an Australian photographer whose documentary style has the ability to draw you into the moment in the most vivid and intense way. I am really taken with her portraits of squatters in the Californian desert and the work she's done in the "slums" of Vancouver 

Narelle Autio - another Australian who has spent the past decade capturing our obsession with the beach except there are no photos of people, rather photos of the things we leave behind and the detritus the sea throws on shore. Not a topic that initially interested me until I saw her images which are really works of art - crisp and vivid, with almost a pop art feel

These women will feature in upcoming articles in Pro Photo magazine. 

Rock Chicks US edition is on its way

Totally pumped. Just finished the update for Rock Chicks US release which is out in October 2010. Was psyched to be writing about the girls again adding in Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth), Kim Deal (The Pixies and The Breeders) and Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and doing updates on those rock chicks who were in the original book - the ones that have been super busy like P!nk who in the two years since the first book came out has been touring the world, putting down a heartbreak album after her split with hubby Corey and then reconciling. That's a lot in a short period of time, but she's not one to muck around. The update on Tina Turner gives me hope - she's thinking about doing a final, final world tour. At 71. She's one rock chick that I would love to see live. If she doesn't tour to Australia I'm going to fly to see her. Doesn't matter where. That's one gig I don't want to miss.

Am now waiting to see the new photos from Tony Mott. And the new design.