July 31, 2012

Time Machine - Atomic - Contemporary Photography

Time Machine is an Australian quarterly online magazine that publishes contemporary photography from around the world as well as essays, interviews and news. The current issue - atomic - features work by Jessie Boylan, Guillaume Herbaut, Barry W Hughes, Miyako Ishiuchi, Alexander James, Mark Klett, Robert Knoth and Michael Light. An eclectic collection of images that further demonstrates the level of diversity that exists in contemporary photography and is definitely worth checking out. Time Machine is put together by photographers Lee Grant, Tom Williams and Sarah Rhodes.

View the current issue here

Copyright: Robert Knoth - Fukushima 

July 30, 2012

Megan Lewis on the X-Pro1

Here's another installment from my interviews with photographers using the Fujifilm X-Pro1....

Megan Lewis, social documentary photographer - “I am really blown away by this little camera. It produces incredible quality, and is so light and easy to use that I want to take it with me everywhere. You don’t even know you’ve got it with you, it just becomes part of what you are doing and you can shoot from the hip”.

A former newspaper photographer, Megan Lewis now works on social documentary projects, the most recent of which is ‘Conversations with the Mob’, shot over three years while living in the Great Sandy Desert of Western Australia with the Martu Aboriginal community.

She says when the X-Pro1 camera came out, “it was exactly what I was looking for. I had been hoping someone would come out with a lightweight camera that takes really high quality pictures, and the X-Pro1 is that camera. Carrying heavy equipment around all the time becomes a burden. In fact you get to the point where you stop taking pictures because you are thinking about the weight of the gear”.

Megan also likes how discreet the X-Pro1 is explaining that when you are shooting out in the desert, where there is no background noise to absorb sounds like the shutter firing, this smaller, quieter camera helps her connect more readily with people.

Having previously shot her major projects on film Megan says she now wouldn’t hesitate to use the X-Pro1. “For me the X-Pro1 replaces film. I wasn’t sure about shooting digital on projects I feel are really important stories to tell, but I think this camera can do it”.

Copyright Megan Lewis 2012

July 24, 2012

Bearing Witness - Extended Articles Online Now

I am very excited to announce a new feature on my website - Bearing Witness. This is my new masthead for extended interviews, articles and Q&A with photojournalists from around the globe. The name reflects what I see as the definition of photojournalist - to bear witness and document, not influence beyond that of your presence.

The first story is an extended interview with legendary Indian photographer Raghu Rai who I had the pleasure to meet in March in Fremantle. I hope you enjoy the story which you can read at Bearing Witness. I always feel privileged to interview photojournalists who I believe are making a difference to our world and bringing stories to light that may never have been told otherwise. Please enjoy.

July 23, 2012

Jack Picone talks about the X-Pro1

Continuing my posts on photographers using the Fujifilm X-Pro1, I also spoke with award-winning photojournalist and social documentary photographer Jack Picone on his views about this remarkable new camera...

“My mantra is’ slow is fast’ – you look, you think, you wait and then you make the picture. I like the psychology of the X-Pro1…it allows me to connect with the people I am photographing” - Jack Picone, Melbourne May 2012

Jack Picone spent a decade covering the world's conflict zones including Iraq, Sudan, Rwanda and Palestine, but this work is only partly representative of his oeuvre, which also involves social documentary projects and workshops.

He says the X-Pro1 is a “quiet camera, very subtle. I can use it on the streets or with people in sensitive situations and it is such an understated retro design that people don’t react to it. It isn’t like a DSLR, which is like a house brick that is in front of your face. With this camera people either ignore you or if they do take notice of you they don’t see you as a professional photographer, they see you as a human being. Being able to strike a rapport with people in a more seamless way is, for me, poetry”.

“It is a more intelligent way to work. I think DSLRs are very clever, but I don’t like them physically. I am really happy with this camera and I was doing back flips when it came on the market.”

Jack is a one body, one lens photographer and uses the 18mm. He says, “For documentary photography or photojournalism you need to be close. Use your legs and walk into the picture. Talk to people, build a rapport and create a visual conversation”.

Below is a selection of photographs Jack shot recently on the X-Pro1 on the streets of Hong Kong.

All photos (C) Jack Picone 2012

July 16, 2012

Christian Fletcher on the XPro1

Following on from my post on Michael Coyne last week, I also spoke to multi-award winning landscape photographer Christian Fletcher about the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and this is what he had to say....

“With the X-Pro1 I can go places I can’t normally go with my heavy equipment and take photographs that are still relevant," says Christian who has been shooting landscapes for 18 years.

“There’s nothing I don’t like about this camera...The thing I love about the X-Pro1 is the size and the fact that you can get really good quality pictures. Landscapes have to be sharp and detailed and the X-Pro1 has all that.”

Christian sells his work through galleries and says there are no issues in hanging prints from the X-Pro1 alongside photographs shot on his Phase One camera. “I am pretty fussy, but the image quality is as good as anything I’ve seen from a DSLR – I was using Canon 5Ds for a while and it is better than that in fact”.

Transportability is another true benefit he says. “It fills that gap where I can be on the run, travel light, go climb a mountain or go on a hike and take it with me anytime. If I have the X-Pro1 with me I’ll never miss a shot”.

And it’s fantastic in low light situations. “I love that I don’t have to use a tripod with this camera. The fact that I can use it in lower light and still hand hold because it has high ISO capabilities is a real bonus”.

“In a commercial sense, this camera can do everything, I could give away my other cameras and use this camera professionally, commercially and it would make no difference to my turnover at all in my galleries. That’s the reality of it,” Christian concludes.

While Christian was in Melbourne he took the XPro1 out for a spin in the city's alleys. Below is a photo of one of the graffiti lanes in the CBD. And an autumn-scape.

(C) Christian Fletcher 2012

July 13, 2012

Australians All exhibition now on

Social documentary photographers Louise Whelan and John Immig have embarked on a massive project to document the 180 migrant communities that call New South Wales (NSW) home. This project, which reflects the multi-cultural society that is Australia in the 21st Century, is the brainchild of Alan Davies, Curator of Photography at the State Library of NSW.

Louise, who I interviewed for my feature on Sydney’s Head On festival in the June issue of Pro Photo, says of the project entitled ‘Australians All’ - "As I work on this project and move around the different communities, I feel privileged to be in the presence of such diversity. Through this series of photographs I’m sharing a glimpse of a huge range of unique cultural experiences encompassing music, dance, visual arts, exotic foods, ancient crafts, ceremonies, family meals and everyday happenings of the ethnic communities".

If you are in Sydney ‘Australians All’ is on exhibition at The Fountain Court NSW Parliament House Macquarie Street Sydney until 27th July.

All photographs (C) Louise Whelan 2012

July 11, 2012

Michael Coyne on volcanoes, squatters and the XPro1

I've recently interviewed six of Australia’s leading photographers spanning the genres of social documentary, photojournalism, landscape and wedding portraiture, about their experiences using the new Fujifilm X-Pro1. Over the next couple of weeks I will post what they had to say about this revolutionary digital camera.

Michael Coyne, multi-award winning photojournalist – “This camera is not intimidating. It allows me to be unobtrusive and to work very fast, which is important when you are covering difficult subject matter”.

Michael Coyne is best known for his ground-breaking coverage of the Iran Iraq War in the 1980s, but he has shot numerous assignments for international magazines over the past thirty years and published more than a dozen books on a wide range of topics. I've had the pleasure of interviewing Michael a number of times over the years and in May in Melbourne I sat down with him to talk about his recent trip to Indonesia.

Earlier that month Michael had taken the X-Pro1 to Indonesia to shoot two social justice projects – one of the sulfur gatherers who work on the inside of an active volcano in southern Java and the other of the squatter settlement in Jakarta.

“When I was doing my research for the volcano shoot I discovered that the BBC had done a documentary and their camera had melted! I am pleased to say the X-Pro1 came through unscathed,” Michael laughs admitting the camera fared better than he.

Arriving at the lip of the volcano, after a four-kilometre climb, Michael realised he had left his gas mask behind with his assistants, who had been unable to complete the ascent. “But I needed the light, you know I’m obsessed with the light, so there was no thought of turning back”.

He continues. “So I’m standing on the lip and I look inside and it’s something out of Dante’s Inferno, sulfur spewing out and workers coming up through the steam with big baskets on their shoulders full of sulfur. At one stage I slithered down a makeshift track, cameras banging all over the place and I thought, I am never going to make this, but I got right down to the bottom”.

“All of a sudden the wind turned, and sulfur and steam engulfed me. I’m shooting and tears are flowing down my face. I couldn’t breathe. But I got some terrific pictures, the camera performed really well.”

In the squatter settlement in Jakarta the danger was of a different kind, he says. This settlement is where villagers who have come to the city in search of a better life, are crippled by poverty and “living in really very, very sad circumstances”.

He reveals, “I wouldn’t have gotten three steps without having been killed or having all my gear stolen had it not been for my local guide”. It is in this environment that Michael says the X-Pro1 really proved its worth as a photojournalist’s camera.

“I went in there with this little camera and nobody minded. It wasn’t like I had a big DSLR and all this gear, so I was not intimidating. Shooting with the X-Pro1 is really easy and quick and that’s the way I like to work, very fast, especially in a setting like this. As a result I have a very strong series of pictures.”

Michael used the 18mm and 35mm lens. “Most of the pictures I shoot are on the 18mm. Occasionally I like to keep back from the subject, like a live volcano, so a 35mm to me is a long lens,” he laughs.

Michael Coyne on the lip of the volcano

Sulphur worker

Sulfur worker

Copyright Michael Coyne 2012

July 06, 2012

TERRA NULLIUS book out now

French photographer Viviane Dalles’ book TERRA NULLIUS (land belonging to no one) has been released and the works are currently on show in Millau, southern France at the Museum of Millau. I will be speaking with Viviane about this series of works shot in the outback of Australia in the coming weeks and will post her interview here. For those of you who are able to get to Millau, the exhibition is on until October. To find out more about Viviane’s work please click here.