photographers

3 GREAT STORIES: Starring sparkling photos and an OKCupid genius

Every week, I shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.

In my final edition of “3 Great Stories” before I leave for the Olympics, I decided to keep it simple.

“Simple”, as in two beautiful photo albums and one enjoyable, quirky story.

In all cases, these stories should stop you in your track.

Sochi’s indigenous people (1/22/14, Big Picture): So many terrific pieces — and some terrifying ones — have been written about the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

This photo album from the Big Picture (shot by photographers from Reuters) finds a unique, powerful angle.

Here are 23 photos of Sochi villagers, and they capture everyday life in a poignant manner; call it “Russian Gothic”. You will see a elderly woman with her great-granddaughter, a pair of animal farmers, villagers looking at artwork and watching a play rehearsal, and even a man taking a photo with an iPhone (it’s not all Gothic in Sochi).

Considering all we know about the place that will host the Olympics in two weeks, I found this gallery refreshing because it showed me what I did not know.

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3 GREAT STORIES: Starring storytelling through photographs

Every week, I shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.

Being on vacation has a way of making you appreciate our golden age of photography.

I just returned from a week in Italy — my first time visiting the legendary and exquisite cities of Rome and Florence — and was again reminded of how easily I can capture the moments of my life. For all the photos I took of the profound scenery (like the one above), I also took a large amount with the goal of recording memories. And because I possessed a strong digital camera with a 3,000-photo memory card, I did all these with great ease and little concern for whether I would run out of film.

To be honest, I didn’t really need the camera or the memory card. I could have taken all those photos on my cell phone.

But for all the free-wheeling sharing of photography that occurs today, I still find myself frozen with awe when I see a truly beautiful picture. I have begun subscribing to feeds that curate photography in a powerful way, and on certain weeks, those feeds provide some of the most memorable stories I see.

Without further ado, here are three great photography posts from last week. Are they newsworthy or timely? Not necessarily. Instead, they are timeless, as a great photograph should be.

Daily life: September 2013 (10/2/13, The Big Picture): I have mentioned The Big Picture many times, and they deserve a mention in any column that touts excellence in photography.

Entries like these are huge reasons why.

The editors at The Big Picture obviously possess keen eyes for photos, but they also possess the ability to properly curate those photos. Witness their monthly “Daily Life” series, specifically this week’s post showing images from the past month. The 34 photos have little that tie them together, apart from two qualities: they all fall into the category of “daily life”, spanning an array of places across the globe to do it, and they all feature masterful craft behind the camera.

Put them all together, and you have a rewarding product.

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PODCAST EPISODE #7: Erin Brethauer, Asheville Citizen-Times photographer & New Yorker Instagrammer

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The New Yorker is typically known — at least in terms of its visuals — for displaying only the highest-brow material.

(After all, this 17-year-old episode of Seinfeld can’t be wrong …)

But the publication is now making waves because of how it utilizes a much more for-the-masses technology.

Check out the New Yorker‘s Instagram account. The magazine has more than 82,000 followers there, and every week its editors hand the reins to a different photographer — one not affiliated with the publication — to spotlight an important cause.

This is where we find the latest guest on the Telling The Story podcast.

I am joined this week by Erin Brethauer. By day, she is the multimedia editor and a staff photographer for the Asheville Citizen-Times. By night, by weekend, and by numerous other times, she puts her photographic hands in numerous other projects.

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Newspaper photographers, and how the Sun-Times, iPhones, & Internet relate

An interesting discussion took place on Twitter after I posted my most recent podcast.

I interviewed Matt Detrich, a staff photographer for 15 years with the Indianapolis Star, about the role of traditional photography in the changing newspaper landscape. The podcast seemed especially relevant since, a few weeks earlier, the Chicago Sun-Times fired all of its photographers. Newspaper officials will instead rely on freelancers to cover major events and reporters to shoot photos and video with their phones.

Said Detrich, among other things: “I really can’t wrap my head about why they would dismantle one whole department … and such a special department for a newspaper.”

A few days later, Tom Spalding — a former Indy Star employee and current board member at Indy Social Media, a social media web site — Tweeted this:

Fourteen minutes later, Spalding’s fellow Indy Social Media board member Chris Theisen responded with this:

That led to the following exchange between Detrich, Thiesen, and Spalding:

My response to each of these Tweets? I agree.

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PODCAST EPISODE #4: Matt Detrich, staff photographer, Indy Star

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Last month, a group of work colleagues and I visited the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The museum features numerous exhibits, many of which are both informative and absorbing. But one exhibit stood out above all:

The Pulitzer Prize-winning photos.

On the first floor of the Newseum, one can see “the most comprehensive collection of Pulitzer Prize-winning photos ever assembled,” according to the museum’s web site. It is an impressive sight: iconic photographs, one after the other, often as chilling as they are impressive.

We all loved the Pulitzer exhibit. We all stood spellbound at the gallery for far longer than we expected. Deep down, I think, journalists truly appreciate the value of the photograph.

And then, there’s this.

As the month of May came to a close, management at the Chicago Sun-Times made the decision to lay off its entire photography staff. They would instead rely on national feeds, freelancers, and reporters who would shoot photos with their camera-phones.

Is this a one-time thing or a sign of the times? Regardless, the landscape is undoubtedly changing for the newspaper photographer.

That brings us to this week’s Telling The Story podcast.

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PODCAST PREVIEW: Matt Detrich: “My stomach just dropped” when the Sun-Times fired its photographers

In the world of journalism right now, there is one big story.

And it is this.

The Chicago Sun-Times shocked the newspaper world when it laid off its entire photography staff last month. It left many photographers feeling both disrespected and misunderstood.

It also left many wondering what could become of their jobs.

This seemed like a great topic for the fourth episode of the Telling The Story podcast.

Matt Detrich is a staff photographer with the Indianapolis Star; he has worked there for 15 years. Like most photographers I know — heck, like most journalists I know — he takes an awful lot of pride in his work. Now, however, he is incorporating the iPhone into his work; he is shooting video in addition to photos; and he is proactively changing with the times, sometimes against his purist heart.

“My stomach just dropped,” Detrich said, when he heard the news about the Sun-Times.

Come back to tellingthestoryblog.com Wednesday at 8 AM to hear the full podcast with myself and Detrich. We dig deep about the Sun-Times’ decision, the transition to a more immediate and web-based industry, and the misconceptions about a photographer’s day-to-day life.

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