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|| News Item: Posted 2009-12-18

Clicks of the Year: 2009 In Review
By Trent Nelson, The Salt Lake Tribune

While the economic situation for photojournalism in 2009 was miserable, the work produced was amazing. Here are some of my favorite stories, sites, and essays, listed chronologically through 2009.

National Geographic 2008 Photos of the Year
The guy running National Geographic used to be a photographer - a great one. Chris Johns goes through his favorite photographs published in the magazine in 2008. Watch this on a cloudy day, as his enthusiasm for great photography is more uplifting than a couple cans of Red Bull.

The Inauguration of Barack Obama
January was a flurry of Barack Obama coverage. Of all the great shots that came from the inauguration— the gigapan, the remote shot, etc... — Mustafah Abdulaziz's poetic black and white essay for The Wall Street Journal, and showcased on Burn Magazine, was my favorite.

Errol Morris in The New York Times
I think they're paying Errol Morris by the word and I'm eternally grateful. Blogging for the New York Times, filmmaker Morris put together a fascinating post that shows us the top photographs from the Bush administration as chosen by top editors from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, and Reuters.

JR Finishes His Most Ambitious Project Yet In The Slums In Kibera, Kenya
When I eventually lose my newspaper job, I hope I turn into a photographer like JR. In his latest project, which took a year of planning, his photographs of the women of the Kenyan slum Kibera were plastered onto rooftops of the slum. My words fail this project so click the link to see it for yourself.

In the Arctic, a time-lapse view of climate change
If you're going to go big with an idea, go big - and long. James Balog set up 26 time-lapse cameras that shot a frame of melting arctic ice every hour for THREE YEARS.

Bathtub IV by Keith Loutit
Before time-lapse video, tilt-shift video, time-lapse-tilt-shift video and tilt-shift-time-lapse video became commonplace and overused, there was Keith Loutit. Bathtub IV, his playful coastal adventure, is well worth your attention.

Wi-Fi to Go, No Cafe Needed
Now you can carry the Internet in your pocket. Novatel's MiFi is a 3G Wi-Fi router that runs on battery power and connects to Verizon's 3G network. Talk about a game changer for all of us sick of the clumsy and chunky USB cel modems hanging out the sides of our laptops.

Our World at War
At the 150th anniversary of the Red Cross, photographers from the VII Photo agency went to "eight conflict-affected countries to examine up-close the suffering caused by war and violence."

Driftless: Stories from Iowa by Danny Wilcox Frazier
A series of wonderful multimedia pieces. I'll let the introduction do the talking: "Life in Iowa can be punishing. Many Iowans expend their lives sweating over soil and spilling the blood of livestock; they endure the hardships associated with a life inextricably bound to the ups and downs of nature. Today, those challenges and a shift in our nation's economy have pushed the youth of rural communities to migrate to the metropolises of America. Those left in the wake of this out-migration continue their lives, seemingly unchanged from the generations that preceded them, and entombed in obscurity."

Burn Magazine Emerging Photographer Grant
David Alan Harvey's Burn Magazine is one of the best sites to see great photography from documentarians worldwide. For the second year, $10,000 was handed out by Burn's Emerging Photographer Grant (the winner was Alejandro Chaskielburg for his essay on the Parana River delta) and along the way, the fantastic work of several nominees was showcased. This year the award is rising to $15,000, so break out the Tri-X!

Stephen Mayes on Photojournalism
Mayes, Managing Director of VII Photo Agency, offered up some welcome commentary reflecting on his time serving as Jury Secretary for the World Press Photo Awards from 2004-2009.

Quotes like this make it a must-listen: "I have a feeling that there are as many photographers as drug users in Kabul's Russian House. As one juror said this year, '90 percent of the pictures are about 10 percent of the world.'"

You can hear the talk courtesy of Lens Culture, and then you might feel a little better that you're shooting a ribbon cutting this afternoon instead of some faraway crisis.

Eighty-Six Iconic Images Ruined With Technology
Be forewarned: If your religion is Photojournalism, this gallery is pure blasphemy. The readers of tech site Gizmodo altered iconic photos with, as they say, "some absolutely awesome results" in their "gaggle of hilarious images in our Gallery of Champions." It's breathtaking for all the wrong reasons.

Iran's Disputed Election
From The Big Picture, a must-see collection of photographs documenting the election upheaval in Iran.

SprintCam v3 NAB 2009 showreel
For those of you looking for the next upcoming trend in video, this may be it - 1000 and 2500 frames per second HD video. Still not sure how much the SprintCam will cost but don't worry, you can't afford it anyway.

The New York Times photo blog Lens went online this year and was instantly one of my top five photography sites. Consider it your daily affirmation.

Chris Jordan on Bill Moyers
A video of photographer/artist Chris Jordan at work.

"My name is Chris Jordan, and I used to be a photographer and now I'm some kind of digital photographic artist. This is called Plastic Bags 2007. This is 60,000 plastic bags, which is five seconds worth of plastic bag usage in the United States. That's five seconds worth of plastic bags."

How can you not be intrigued?

How Could This Happen to Annie Leibovitz?
New York Magazine had the definitive account of Annie's descent into financial crisis. Guaranteed to make you feel better about your credit card debt.

The Bang Bang Club - The Movie
If you haven't read the book by South African photographers Greg Marinovich and Joao Silva, do it quick before the film (yes, film!) about four photojournalists who covered the end of apartheid is released. Lens had a two part series to bring you up to speed:
Part 1 Link:
Part 2 Link:

Behind the Scenes: To Publish or Not?
AP photographer Julie Jacobson's photograph depicting a fatal RPG injury to American soldier Joshua Bernard in Afghanistan forced newsrooms to make a tough editorial decision - to publish the photo or not. Lens had an in depth look at the opinions from all sides, including excerpts from Jacobson's journals. And if you still need more to think about you can read through the comments left by readers. All 685 of them.

The Visual Student
This new student-oriented blog from the NPPA has photo editors talking about internships, award-winning work, and information about technique. A much-needed resource for anyone entering the industry.

Celebrating Christian Poveda
A Photo a Day's blog linked to three outlets highlighting the work of photographer/filmmaker Christian Poveda, who was murdered in El Salvador while working on a documentary on the violent Mara-18 gang. You know the Robert Capa saying, "If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough"? Poveda lived it.

World Press Photo Contest Archive
World Press Photo opened their fifty-year archive for public viewing.

From their announcement: "Our archive of (some 10,000) winning photos is not only a record of more than half a century of human history, but a showcase of successive styles in photography and reportage."

Brenda Ann Kenneally - Upstate Girls: What Became of Collar City
The Digital Journalist featured Kenneally's stunning essay in full force.

From the photographer's introduction: "As a journalist and activist I have dedicated my life to exploring the how and why of class inequity in America. I am concerned with the internalized social messages that will live on for generations after our economic and social policies catch up with the reality of living on the bottom rung of America's upwardly mobile society. My project explores the way that money is but a symptom of self-worth and a means by which humans separate from each other."

"Poverty is an emotional rather than physical state with layers of marginalization to cement those who live under them into their place. The economic crisis as it is called has done some to take the moral sting out of being poor, though the conversation remains centered on economic rather than social stimulus relief. Thus indicating that the crux of the crisis is for those that are recently without money rather than Americans whose ongoing struggles left them unfazed by the headlines. "

Report: Majority Of Newspapers Now Purchased By Kidnappers To Prove Date
I don't know about you, but even as my career options fade away into economic ruin I'm still happy to see The Onion making fun of newspapers.

Dude, her head's bigger than her pelvis
Old Media clashed with New when Ralph Lauren objected to a post on the geek-culture site Boing Boing pointing out a hideously retouched photo of a model that appeared in one of the fashion giant's advertisements. After Ralph Lauren's legal team fired off a DMCA takedown notice to have the post removed.

Boing Boing responded with, "Instead of responding to their legal threat by suppressing our criticism of their marketing images, we're gonna mock them." In the resulting flurry of backlash against extreme retouching Ralph Lauren backed down and eventually admitted, "We are responsible for the poor imaging and retouching that resulted in a very distorted image of a woman's body."

This was a case that all content producers should study as they look for ways to protect their intellectual property in the online space. The criticism that Ralph Lauren doesn't want you to see!

Dave LaBelle, The Lesson
If you've never come across the photojournalism legend that is Dave LaBelle you owe it to yourself to spend twenty minutes watching Francis Gardler's documentary on Western Kentucky University's photojournalism evangelist.

Portraits of Power
Platon set up a photo studio in the hallways of the United Nations and photographed just about every world leader. This interactive portfolio of portraits has commentary by the photographer. If you don't want to listen to each portrait's commentary, make sure to listen to the last frame, an interview where he talks about the set up, process, problems, and personalities.

Equipment of the Year
Last but hardly least, the things we all drool over - new gear. We're going to skip the Canon 7D which may be 2009's best camera value, because it's more fun to drool over things you can't afford. Let's look at the pro offerings.

The already stellar D3 gets video - Nikon Announces D3s with 102,400 top ISO

Canon hits Mark 4 - Canon Announces 16.06 million image pixel EOS-1D Mark IV

Leica may have finally gotten the digital rangefinder right - Leica M9 Field Review

And of course, it wouldn't be fantasy land without mentioning Leica's new 37 megapixel S2, which will set you back around $25,000.00 for the body only. Come dream with me. Link:

And while you're dreaming about gear, here's a good laugh:
Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop with no keyboard

(Trent Nelson is the chief photographer at the Salt Lake Tribune. You can visit his member page here:

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