30 May 2013

The Sun-Times Follies

And so, as The Chicago Tribune reports here, The Chicago Sun-Times has fired its entire photography staff.

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29 May 2013

Passings ~ Mulgrew Miller (1955-2013)

This is very sad. Jazz pianist Mulgrew Miller has died. I was not especially a fan of his, but he could really play and he died young. There is an obituary in The New York Times here.

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26 May 2013

"Let's Build Paradise Again" ~ Salgado TED Talk

I admire Salgado immensely. Here is his TED Talk from a few months back:


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Emily Good - Green Party Candidate for Monroe County Sheriff

I do not subscribe to the Democrat & Chronicle (our local Gannett paper) and I only very rarely read anything in it. I won't rehearse the reasons here. But I have to admit that this column by Nestor Ramos is a nice surprise. I cannot vote for the Green Party candidates for City Offices since I am not a resident. But I can and will vote for Emily Good, the Green Party candidate for County Sheriff. If you live in Monroe County you should too. Criminal justice policy in the US is inexcusable and she is putting that embarrassment out there for all to see. Here is Emily announcing that she is running for office:


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25 May 2013

Visualizing Suburban Poverty in the US


This is an illegible version of this data graphic from the distinctly middle of the road Brookings Institution depicting the explosive growth of poverty in American suburbs. It reflects research done by Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube, also published by Brookings (here). If you go to the first link above you can find a eyesight ready version of the graphic.

Politically, this is the sort of political economic shift that might sustain metropolitan reform in places like Monroe County where I live and where until pretty recently the city was disproportionately poor and minority and the suburbs likewise relatively well off and white. Hope springs eternal?

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Passings ~ Wayne Miller (1918-2013)

Photographer and environmentalist Wayne Miller has died. You can find a report here at NPR.

Update: You can find an obituary of Miller here at The Guardian.

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Democracy & the Arts in Detroit

 Twin Tornadoes (1990) © Gilda Snowden and DIA.

For many years I've pretty regularly made special trips to the Detroit Institute of the Arts from my teaching gig in Ann Arbor. Not only is it egregiously anti-democratic to have Detroit under the thumb of an appointed emergency manager, but this dispute over whether the City can sell the collection at the DIA to pay off debt suggests just why anyone in that position is bound to have a myopic view of what is "good" for the City. Selling off art is an inestimably bad idea.

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21 May 2013

Yoko & John

So, is it OK to hate things you do understand? Or are we assume that understanding will tranlate hate into some other form of response?

14 May 2013

Daniel Hernández-Salazar (Once Again)

I have posted here numerous times on Daniel Hernández-Salazar, a Guatemalan photographer whose work I admire very much. Today the Lens blog at The New York Times ran this post on his photographs of the recent trial of former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Hernández-Salazar was instrumental in documenting both the crimes of the regime and the subsequent popular politics of recovery and remembrance. It bears noting that the decades of repression in Guatemala were underwritten by the U.S. ...  And it is a major accomplishment that Ríos Montt was convicted and sentenced to 80 years in prison for his deeds.

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Mapping Racial Segregation in the US

This map shows the distribution of population by race in Rochester derived from 2010 census figures. Red dots = Whites, Blue dots = Blacks. You can find analogous maps of other American cities here; many of those map Asian and Hispanic populations as well.* While compelling visually the reality they reveal is not pretty.  For some analysis look here.
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P.S.: "Red is White, Blue is Black, Green is Asian, Orange is Hispanic, Yellow is Other, and each dot is 25 residents." The designer here, by the way, is Eric Fischer.

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10 May 2013

What's Truth Got To Do WIth It?

Chechnya, 1996- Ruins of central Grozny.
Photograph © James Nachtwey.

Just in time for the Image Ethics symposium at Northwestern comes this discussion at Spiegel Online on the ethics of post-production enhancement of images. I have said this here before: this is not a new issue. If you watch the documentary War Photographer, for instance, you see Nachtwey and his photo editors engaged in extended, detailed discussions about how to adjust the lighting in the image I've lifted above as they prepare it for publication. I think too much of this trades on the philosophically naive idea that photographs simply record; that should be replaced with a serious discussion of how photography is used to communicate and, then, about the institutional entities (agencies, foundations, media outlets, etc.) that structure such communication.

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09 May 2013

Follow the Money

08 May 2013

Independence & Gumption ...



This is August. Not my August, though. Somehow this clip appeared on my FB news feed and I find this little girl really funny and sweet. Independence and gumption to spare, I'd say.

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07 May 2013

Image Ethics: Professional Photojournalism and Public Commentary in the New Media Environment

Later this week I head to Chicago (actually Evanston) for a talk at this workshop. If you are in the area it should be lively. The initial impetus for this discussion was an "award winning" photo essay on Rochester by Paolo Pellegrin that I've posted on here several times. Thanks to Robert Hariman for organizing the event and inviting me!

Image Ethics; Professional Photojournalism and
Public Commentary in the New Media Environment

Northwestern University - School of Communication
Alice Kaplan Seminar Room (Kresge 2-370),  Saturday - 11 May, 9am to 4pm

This symposium will be devoted to analysis of the images and commentary in an online debate following the exposé at BagNewsNotes of a photograph from Paolo Pellegrin’s award-winning series, “The Crescent.”"

Presenters include Michael Shaw, the publisher of BagNewsNotes, as well as Meg Handler, James Johnson, Jens Kjeldsen, Peter Meyers, and Joseph Rodriquez.

To encourage robust discussions, attendees are encouraged to read the relevant online postings postings and accompanying comments in advance to the symposium (links below).

BagNews: When Reality Isn’t Dramatic Enough: Misrepresentation in a World Press and Picture of the Year Winning Photo
NPPA: Paolo Pellegrin Responds To Claim Of Misrepresented Winning World Press, POYi Photos
BagNews: BagNews, Paolo Pellegrin and Reading the Pictures
BagNews: BagNewsNotes Response to World Press and POY Pellegrin Decisions, Controversy Overall
Lens: A Prize-Winning Ethics Lesson?

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Money, Race and Jazz - Okeh?

The history of the - I would say foundational - African American contributions to American musical culture are fraught with politics, economics and race. I have written here several times about how the organizers of the local RIJF have more or less totally failed to navigate that troubled intersection. More on that topic before long. At the moment I want to call attention to the fracas brewing around the efforts of SONY to resuscitate the Okeh Record label. Here is critic Nate Chien at The New York Times, trumpeter Nicholas Peyton at his own blog, and two offerings from critic John Murph at The Atlantic. Given the history of the label - which recorded an impressive list of Black artists back to at least Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five in the 1920s - the SONY execs seem to have blown their re-launch completely. All of their newly released recordings are by white musicians.  In the face of criticism their reaction is defensive and dismissive (of Peyton especially). The bottom line, it seems to me, is that SONY wants to make money. Like the producers of the RIJF their execs see the big market in white audiences. And they have pitched their initial offerings to that audience. Perhaps they will in fact remedy that over time. I am doubtful.

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06 May 2013

Rubinstein on Game Theory

I recommend this brief essay on game theory and its uses by Ariel Rubinstein from Frankfurter Allgemeine. Not only does he hit the nail on the head, but he extends his comments to the aims of Universities.

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Uses of Image Technology


Consider this example of an interesting and admirable use of a hardly unambiguously attractive technology. This campaign against child abuse by the ANAR Foundation is useful (but not flawless). But can you imagine all sorts of less well-meaning outfits who'd like to surreptitiously communicate with kids?

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