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Author:Noam Cohen
    Political revolutions are often closely linked to communication tools. The American Revolution wasn’t caused by the proliferation of pamphlets, written to whip colonists into a frenzy against the British. But it sure helped.   Social networking, a distinctly 21st-century phenomenon, has already been credited with aiding protests from the Republic of Georgia to Egypt to Iceland. And Twitter, the newest social-networking tool, has been identified with two mass protests in a matter of months — in Moldova in April and in Iran last week, when hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to oppose the official results of the presidential election.   But does the label Twitter Revolution, which has been slapped on the two most recent events, oversell the technology? Skeptics note that only a small number of people used Twitter to organize protests in Iran and that other means — individual text messaging, old-fashioned word of mouth and Farsi-language Web sites — were more influential. But Twitter did prove to be a crucial tool in the cat-and-mouse game between the opposition and the government over enlisting world opinion. As the Iranian government restricts journalists’ access to events, the protesters have used Twitter’s agile communication system to direct the public and journalists alike to video, photographs and written material related to the protests. (As has become established custom on Twitter, users have agreed to mark, or “tag,” each of their tweets with the same bit of type — #IranElection — so that users can find them more easily). So maybe there was no Twitter Revolution. But over the last week, we learned a few lessons about the strengths and weaknesses of a technology that is less than three years old and is experiencing explosive growth. 1. Twitter Is a Tool and Thus Difficult to Censor   Twitter aspires to be something different from social-networking sites like Facebook or MySpace: rather than being a vast self-contained world centered on one Web site, Twitter dreams of being a tool that people can use to communicate with each other from a multitude of locations, like e-mail. You do not have to visit the home site to send a message, or tweet. Tweets can originate from text-messaging on a cellphone or even blogging software. Likewise, tweets can be read remotely, whether as text messages or, say, “status updates” on a friend’s Facebook page.   Unlike Facebook, which operates solely as a Web site that can be, in a sense, impounded, shutting down does little to stop the offending Twittering. You’d have to shut down the entire service, which is done occasionally for maintenance.   2. Tweets Are Generally Banal, but Watch Out   “The qualities that make Twitter seem inane and half-baked are what makes it so powerful,” says Jonathan Zittrain, a Harvard law professor who is an expert on the Internet. That is, tweets by their nature seem trivial, with little that is original or menacing. Even Twitter accounts seen as promoting the protest movement in Iran are largely a series of links to photographs hosted on other sites or brief updates on strategy. Each update may not be important. Collectively, however, the tweets can create a personality or environment that reflects the emotions of the moment and helps drive opinion.   3. Buyer Beware   Nothing on Twitter has been verified. While users can learn from experience to trust a certain Twitter account, it is still a matter of trust. And just as Twitter has helped get out first-hand reports from Tehran, it has also spread inaccurate information, perhaps even disinformation. An article published by the Web site True/Slant highlighted some of the biggest errors on Twitter that were quickly repeated and amplified by bloggers: that three million protested in Tehran last weekend (more like a few hundred thousand); that the opposition candidate Mir Hussein Moussavi was under house arrest (he was being watched); that the president of the election monitoring committee declared the election invalid last Saturday (not so).   4. Watch Your Back   Not only is it hard to be sure that what appears on Twitter is accurate, but some Twitterers may even be trying to trick you. Like Rick’s Café, Twitter is thick with discussion of who is really an informant or agent provocateur. One longstanding pro-Moussavi Twitter account, mousavi1388, which has grown to 16,000 followers, recently tweeted, “WARNING: & are fake, DONT join. ... #IranElection11:02 AM Jun 16th from web.” The implication was that government agents had created those accounts to mislead the public. announced that Twitter users who said they were repeating (“retweeting”) the posts from its reporter, Jim Sciutto, had been fabricating the material to make Mr. Sciutto seem to be backing the government. “I became an unwitting victim,” he wrote.   5. Twitter Is Self-Correcting but a Misleading Gauge   For all the democratic traits of Twitter, not all users are equal. A popular, trusted user matters more and, as shown above, can expose others who are suspected of being fakers. In that way, Twitter is a community, with leaders and cliques. Of course, Twitter is a certain kind of community — technology-loving, generally affluent and Western-tilting. In that way, Twitter is a very poor tool for judging popular sentiment in Iran and trying to assess who won the presidential election. Mr. Ahmadinejad, who presumably has some supporters somewhere in Iran, is losing in a North Korean-style landslide on Twitter.   6. Twitter Can Be a Potent Tool for Media Criticism   Just as Twitter can rally protesters against governments, its broadcast ability can rally them quickly and efficiently against news outlets. One such spontaneous protest was given the tag #CNNfail, using Internet slang to call out CNN last weekend for failing to have comprehensive coverage of the Iranian protests. This was quickly converted to an e-mail writing campaign. CNN was forced to defend its coverage in print and online.   Noam Cohen © The New York Times June 20, 2009    
Saturday, 20 June 2009
Author:Paul Schrader
        From video games to reality TV, we are inundated with narrative and swimming in storylines, says legendary scriptwriter Paul Schrader. Can traditional cinema keep up? Or are we suffering 'narrative exhaustion'?.                 Screenwriters love to complain. They are disrespected by producers, deemed dispensable by directors, not duly credited by critics, treated like employees by actors - although few complain about being historically and chronically overpaid. Another thing they don't complain about is "the exhaustion of narrative", though it weighs very much on their minds. For screenwriters to complain about the paucity of original ideas would be like a salesman complaining about a lack of inventory. It's not good for business. Writers have always known there are a limited number of storylines. Christopher Booker's Seven Basic Plots popularised the number seven, but others have argued for three, 20 and 36 basic plots - Rudyard Kipling said 69. That's not new. We do tell variations of the same stories over and over. That's not what I mean by the "exhaustion of narrative". What is new is the omnipresence and ubiquity of plot created by media proliferation. We are inundated by narrative. We are swimming in storylines.   Let's crunch some hypothetical numbers. Take a media-aware person of, say, 30 years of age. Call him Ollie Overwhelmed. When Ollie's great-grandfather was 30 he had perhaps seen 2,500 hours of audio-visual narrative (plot). His grandfather, age 30, had seen about 10,000 hours. His father had seen 20,000 hours. Ollie in 2009, age 30, has seen approximately 35,000 hours of audio-visual narrative. These are not hard numbers. I've read no polling to this effect. But this seems about right.   That's 35,000 hours of plot. Movies, television shows, cartoons, streaming video, YouTube clips. Storylines long and short: teen comedies, soap operas, love stories, crime shows, historical dramas, special-effects extravaganzas, horror, porn, highbrow, lowbrow, hour after hour, day after day, year after year. That's a lot of narrative. It's exhausting.   What does it mean? For a storyteller, it means that's it is increasingly difficult to get out in front of a viewer's expectations. Almost every possible subject has not only been covered but covered exhaustively. How many hours of serial killer plot has the average viewer seen? Fifty? A hundred? He's seen the basic plots, the permutations of those plotlines, the imitations of the permutations of those plotlines and the permutations of the imitations. How does a writer capture the imagination of a viewer seeped in serial killer plot? Make it even gorier? Done that. More perverse? Seen that. Serial killer with humour? Been there. As parody? Yawn. The example of the serial killer subgenre is a bit facile, but what's true for serial killer stories is true of all film subjects. Police families? Gay couples? Corrupt politicians? Charming misfits? Yawn, yawn, yawn."Nosotros servimos al publico. La medida no es el número de personas que entran a un museo sino la calidad de la experiencia. Medir esa calidad es difícil pero no imposible. Se pueden observar sus reacciones, podemos saber si vuelve o si e un visitante habitual. Si no quiere volver será una señal de que el museo ha hecho las cosas mal. El publico no se confunde, es inteligente, no hay que despreciarle, siempre me sorprende por su finura e inteligencia".   This becomes painfully clear to any writer who attempts to orally tell his story (screenwriting is closer to the oral tradition than it is to literature). You start to tell a story, try to catch the listener's attention, then watch as Ollie Overwhelmed packages your story and places it in a box. He has seen so much storyline that he has the boxes already prepared. Just drop quote marks around the premise and file it: oh, that's the "two couples on a road trip" movie or the "six men in a lifeboat" film. I know that film. Ollie's mind operates like that of story editor. "And then he goes to her place," you the screenwriter say - "and he finds her hanging naked from a hook in the bathroom," Ollie the listener thinks: I know that film.   Originality has always been in short supply. Does the proliferation of media mean that it is harder to be original today than it was 50 years ago? Well, yes. Today's viewers live in a biosphere of narrative. Twenty-four-seven, multimedia, all the time. When a storyteller competes for a viewer's attention, he not only competes with simultaneously occurring narratives, he competes with the variations of his own narrative. That's real competition. The bar of originality has been raised. The media marketplace puts a premium on anything "new" or "fresh" and, at the same time, inundates its viewers with continual and competing narratives.   Critics and commentators love to say things like "I love an old-fashioned love story," or a "good old-fashioned murder mystery". But what is their response when they are presented with just that? Adjectives such as "tired", "hackneyed", "unoriginal", "dated" and "prosaic". What's a writer to do? Work increasingly outside the confines of traditional storytelling, for one thing. This exhaustion of narrative is behind the rise of recent "counter-narrative" entertainments, such as:.   1. Reality TV. Any regular viewer knows that reality television follows its own scripted formulas, but the appearance of being unscripted is essential to its appeal. Weary of so much predicable plot, the jaded viewer turns to "reality".   2. Anecdotal narrative. The attraction of films such as Slacker and its mumblecore progeny is the enjoyment of watching behaviour encumbered by the artifice of plot. It is not "fake," not "contrived" (although of course it is)."   3. Reenactment drama. Whether based on famous events or lesser-known ones, reenactment entertainment sells the premise that these events actually happened and were not cooked up by a staff of writers (though, again, if not actually cooked up, they were seasoned and served by writers).. 4. Video games. The ability of the viewer to participate in the storytelling process creates an illusion of non-contrivance.   5. Mini-mini dramas. Part of the appeal of three- to five-minute stories created for cellphones, YouTube and original programming is the illusion of not being crafted narratives. Just bits of life.   6. Documentaries. A staple of filmed entertainment since its beginnings, documentaries, historically the poor cousins of commercial cinema, have grown in number and viewership, an increase owed in part to the desire of viewers to look beyond predictable narratives.   What else? Write for formats based on predictability and repetition (soap operas, crime procedurals, superhero cartoons), repackage old plots with new stars and search for that elusive "original" twist that makes an old storyline fresh. And wait. Wait for emerging media to define the new need for narrative.   Storytelling began as ceremony and evolved into ritual. It was commercialised in the middle ages, became big business in the 19th century and an international industry in the 20th. Today it is the ubiquitous wallpaper of the postmodern era. As screenwriters, we struggle with our own success. We have wallpapered our world and now we can't get anyone to notice the picture we just hung. This is not a big deal. Not a crisis. The "exhaustion of narrative" is not a standalone development. It is one of a set of crises that afflict current cinema.   Movies were the artform of the 20th century. The traditional concept of movies, a projected image in a dark room of viewers, feels increasingly old. I don't know what the future of audio-visual entertainment will be, but I don't think it will be what we used to call movies. Narrative will mutate and endure. Audio-visual entertainment is changing and narrative will change with it.   Paul Schrader's Screenwriting Masterclass is on 3 July at ScreenLit: Festival of Film, TV & Writing at Broadway Cinema Nottingham: Schrader's Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters will play at Screen Lit and open at ICA, London, on 10 July.   Paul Schrader The Guardian Fri Jun 19, 2009  
Friday, 19 June 2009
Author:Rebecca Santana and Barbara Ortutay
    June 15, 2009. File photo shows a photo of defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, left bottom, next to a broken computer monitor in a room in a Tehran University dormitory after it was attacked by militia forces during riots in Tehran, Iran, in the early hours of Monday . Overnight, police and militia stormed the campus at the city's biggest university, ransacking dormitories and arresting dozens of students angry over what they claim was election fraud. Iran's media clampdown seeks to restrict what its citizens and the world can see of street protests. But it's the Internet age, and protesters can take video and photos with cellphones and transmit them over the Web a huge change from the primitive communications during Iran's 1979 revolution. (AP photo)     CAIRO – Iran clamped down Tuesday on independent media in an attempt to control images of election protests, but pictures and videos leaked out anyway — showing how difficult it is to shut off the flow of information in the Internet age.   The restrictions imposed by the government made such social-networking sites as Twitter and Flickr more prominent — with even the U.S. State Department calling on Twitter to put off a scheduled shutdown for maintenance.   Iranians were posting items online, but it wasn't known how much of that information was being seen by others inside the country. And although some of the posts on Twitter appeared to be from users in Tehran, others clearly were not.   Following a massive opposition rally Monday, authorities restricted journalists — including Iranians working for foreign media — from reporting on the streets. They could effectively only work from their offices, conducting telephone interviews and monitoring official sources such as state TV.   Some foreign journalists were forced to leave Iran because the government wouldn't extend the visas they received to cover Friday's election, in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the landslide winner.   "Clearly, when our journalists can't go out and see things and talk to people, our ability to tell the story is not as good as when we are able to go out to report and take pictures and video," AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll said.   When controls are imposed, "we work with those restrictions, keeping in mind our ultimate goal is to be able to do our jobs as journalists," she said.   The London-based Reuters news agency included an editor's note on its stories out of Iran saying its coverage was subject to a ban on "foreign media leaving the office to report, film, or take pictures in Tehran."   CNN turned in part to the social-networking sites, broadcasting images posted on Facebook and Twitter, and explaining on-air that it was using "creativity" to cover a big event under government restrictions.   "We cannot verify readily some of this material that we're going to show you," correspondent David Mattingly warned viewers. Much of the material on Twitter is posted anonymously.   CNN spokeswoman Bridget Leininger said that adding context and explaining issues was necessary when reporting with such online sources. "We are committed to making the most information available in a tough news environment, while being totally transparent with the audience," she said.   Iranian journalists have also been targeted, including at least 10 who have been arrested, according to the press freedom group Reporters Without Borders.   "We are very worried about them," said Jean-Francois Julliard, secretary-general of the Paris-based organization. "We don't know where they have been detained, in what conditions. And we know as well that bloggers have been arrested, people who just took pictures with their mobile phones have been arrested, and all journalists are under threat."   The Iranian government also tried to stop its citizens from spreading information. Internet service and cell phone service was intermittent Tuesday, with long delays getting online. Many sites, including some that support reformist challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi, were blocked.   Even under ideal circumstances, only a quarter of Iran's 70 million people have Internet access at home or at work, and Internet cafes are found only in major cities.   Fearing Iranian government attempts to track Twitter users, some of those abroad changed their settings to make it appear they're in Iran — hoping to make it more difficult for authorities to find Iranian users.   Users of Twitter have also been sharing ways, called proxies, that Iranians can use to circumvent the efforts to block sites.   The importance of Twitter in Iran has been recognized by the U.S. State Department, which contacted the company during the weekend to request that Twitter not take its service down for scheduled maintenance, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.   San Francisco-based Twitter Inc. delayed the planned 90-minute shutdown, citing the role Twitter was playing in Iran.   To stop citizens from getting out their text messages, tweets, photos and e-mails, Iran would have to restrict Web access entirely, following the footsteps of North Korea or Cuba, said John Palfrey, an Internet censorship expert at Harvard University.   Reporters were also restricted during the 1979 Iranian revolution, which saw the installation of the Islamic regime in power today.   Back then, reporters relied on landlines and Telex services of the government telecommunications company to get out the news.   Instead of relaying copy from American news organizations that were perceived as biased in favor of the monarchy, revolutionary sympathizers in the government would often block the Americans' circuits.   Government censors and the Internet have often clashed.   This April, protesters in Moldova used Twitter and the Internet when mobile phones and cable news television stations went down.   Myanmar's military government has cracked down on Internet use by dissident groups, temporarily shutting down international connections and jailing bloggers.   "No one quite knows what sort of pressure ... would actually lead to a free election," said Ethan Zuckerman, research fellow at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. "Certainly, international attention makes it harder to wash things under the rug."   Ortutay contributed from New York. Associated Press writers Matthew Lee in Washington, Robert H. Reid in Baghdad, Audrey Horowitz in Paris and Andrew Vanacore in New York also contributed to this report.   Video of this article:         Rebecca Santana and Barbara Ortutay Associated Press Wed Jun 17, 2009     
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Author:Pedro Meyer
    If there is one thing that is clear to me is that almost everything around me is changing faster than I can process. This was not always the case. Let see, all of a sudden the entire world seems to have jumped over a financial abyss. It's not like at other times, when one would hear that an economic crisis took place in a specific country; or that of a continent, such as Asia or Latin America, for instance; or in a certain zone, like the euro. Now the entire planet is involved and it all happened in the batting of an eyelash.   This comes to bear because we have come to a point when we no longer are surprised by very much, be that, that the largest car manufacturer in the world, General Motors, has declared bankrupt, or because in Ireland the Catholic Church finds itself mired in yet another sex scandal as those that it has already had in many other parts of the world. We wake up one day, to find we have a world wide outbreak of influenza, or that all our savings are gone due to bank frauds.   But don't think that such frauds are local or on a small scale by some fast talking charlatan, these frauds originated at the very epicenter of world finance: Wall Street, and such abuse heralded by many of its major institutions. If one of the biggest banks in the world, Citibank, can collapse in a matter of a few months, there is little left to surprise us, of what is possible that can occur. [To put things in perspective when in 1995 Mexico, a country of 100 million people, got a bailout, it was to the tune of 20 billion dollars. While Citibank, has received 300 billion from US taxpayers so far, and this is only one bank and the full story has not even ended. — (references)] thus there is little left to surprise us of what might happen when even such erstwhile solid institutions thought to be there forever, simply go bust.   We wake up each day to the news of how new technologies are changing at an ever faster pace. The music industry, cinema, the printed press, publishing industry, television, etc. all without exception have seen their usual operations overturned and they have had to adapt in order to operate differently today.   Just imagine that amidst this ocean of uncertainty, we find ZoneZero after a decade and a half of existence. Aside the questionable merit of just surviving, which in this day and age is no small feat unto itself, when as we have seen literally thousands of online projects have come and gone with the passing of time, we also adapted and changed time and time again, not only the content but also the form in which it was presented. One thing remained constant however, our mission statement? "from analog to digital".   In making an internal review with our staff here at ZoneZero, of what we have accomplished over these years, we concluded that this stage of taking photography from analog to digital, has been mainly accomplished. We believe that ZoneZero did contribute to the dialogue and debate around this topic on a global scale. The question now is, what follows? Much as every young person has to deal with as they grow older, "what should I be doing from now on? "   We are in the process of changing the design yet again, and we would like to invite you to write and tell us your thoughts about where you would like ZoneZero to be heading towards. After all if ZoneZero is to be understood as a community, then such a decision has to involve all of our readers. Share with us your thoughts if you will, in what is our search to find that voice and destiny in these very turbulent and chaotic times.   Pedro Meyer June 2009 Mexico City, Coyoacán    
Monday, 01 June 2009
Author:Hans Durrer
      “Award-winning photographer and Washington Post columnist Frank Van Riper assembles a collection of his most outstanding popular columns to delight readers with a treasure chest of photographic insights” one reads on the back cover of this book. Okay then, let’s look what the author’s photographic insights are.   It goes without saying that there are different ways of reading a book. From cover to cover is a possibility, to open it at random and start reading when and where you feel like it is another one. In the case of this tome I’ve opted for the second one. And I did indeed find “a treasure chest of photographic insight” that made me re-think some of my views.   Here’s an example: Although I’ve never thought that photographs, as some critics seem to believe, should be read as texts (why pictures should be declared texts is beyond me), I’ve nevertheless often used (without giving it too much thought, I readily admit) the expression ‘reading photographs’ until I came across this quote by Neil Selkirk (‘Seeing and Shooting by Instinct’): “The process of looking is more akin to smelling or tasting than it is to reading … One’s response is immediate and instinctual, more like a reflex which disposes with the conscious brain as being too cluttered and lacking in spontaneity.”   Good point, I find, but doesn’t reading photographs mean that we should think about, reflect on, ponder what we are looking at instead of simply be victims of our unsconscious? Selkirk goes on: “Thinking actually limits our ability to enjoy photographs, which derive their power from their ability to penetrate directly to the unconscious. Down there in the unreachable, the images stimulate memory and make connections, which then pop forward into the conscious mind where they become accessible to you and me.” Is Selkirk right, does thinking limit our ability to enjoy photographs? I guess that if you want from photographs primarily enjoyment, he might be right, there are however lots of photographs (think of documentary, political propaganda etc) that are clearly meant to be reflected on. In fact, to reflect on them is conditional to enjoying them.   Under the title “Stephen King, Photography Teacher” Van Riper refers to Stephen King's On Writing, a book that he calls “an insightful, plainspoken, and thoroughly enjoyable book on photography”. By this he means that what King says about writing could just as well be said about photographing. For instance: King advises fledgling writers to read voraciously for reading “is the creative center of a writer's life.” Van Riper comments: “I would say here that looking at, studying, and absorbing good photography serves the same purpose for a beginning photographer. That is because learning the components of a good image - composition, lighting, gesture - and seeing those elements used differently over and over by different masters, makes it easier for a person to achieve the same end on his or her own over time. And there is simply not alternative to this, no shortcut.”   Van Riper also points out that “nowhere in his book does King have anything to say about ‘equipment’. From my own conversations with him I know that he writes on everything from a computer to the back of napkins. Keep this in mind the next time you are tempted to think that your creative output would be doubled if you just spent the rent money on a better camera. Better you should spend a fraction of that total on a few more photography books so you can study the images therein to better use the camera you already have." Good advice, I'd say.   Another piece is called “In Praise of Obsession”. Since I’ve never thought of obsession as being something positive (quite the opposite, actually), I wondered what this would be all about. Van Riper elaborates: “We as photographers, especially commercial shooters who are hired guns for every passing art director, event planner, magazine or ad agency, may think we haven’t the time for such artistic indulgence, especially when we face hard times and the need to make a living. Yet I suggest that the photographer who thinks this way is limiting him- or herself in a fundamental and important way. The project that speaks to us directly – that stays in the back of our minds at the end of a boring day of tabletops or assembly line headshots – is the one that will maintain our sanity in the humdrum of commercial shooting. Succumbing to obsession, I submit, is a way to stay sane.“ Great insight, isn’t it?   “Photography, like painting, is largely learning how to see”, notes Van Riper on another occasion and continues, “and to grow comfortable with the equipment that lets us turn what we see into something tangible.“ It is such well put insights that I’m looking for in books.   “Talking Photography” consists of 99 articles (including the introduction) and covers a very wide range of topics from interviews (i.e. Bruce Davidson, Frans Lanting) to reviews (i.e. Dorthea Lange’s Ireland, Edward Steichen: Diminished by his Success, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Brassai: Two Different Ways to Greatness) to technical tips (i.e. Photographing Artwork, Capturing Venice at Night) and more.   What did I like best about this useful and recommendable tome? The nuggets that I encountered here and there and everywhere. Here are two additional examples. Number one: “Put simply: A painter can create an image from memory; a photographer cannot. For this reason photography has gained a reputation for truth telling (‘the camera never lies,’ though in fact the camera alway lies by translating a three-dimensional image into one of only two dimensions). Number two is a title and it still makes me smile: “Stieglitz and New York: A Town to Match His Ego.      
Monday, 25 May 2009
Author:Pedro Meyer
  The World Bids Farewell to Mario Benedetti     In memory to my friendship with Mario Benedetti, photographs I took of him in the seventies. I met him this way and I will remember him so...   Pedro Meyer                 Uruguayan writer Mario Benedetti died on May 17 in Montevideo at the age of 88.   The author of more than eighty books including poetry, novels, short stories, and essays as well as screenplays had been in delicate health since May 6 when he was discharged from the hospital following twelve days of hospitalization after a chronic intestinal ailment worsened.   During his life, he was awarded the Menéndez Pelayo International Prize (2005), the José Martí Iberoamerican Prize (2001), and the Reina Sofía Iberoamerican Poetry Prize (1999), among others.   Because of his leftist ideas, Benedetti was forced to leave Uruguay after the 1973 coup. During the Uruguayan dictatorship, he sought exile in Argentina, Spain, Peru, and Cuba, to then return to his country in 1983. Renewing ties with his country of birth was a central theme in his work.   His last published work, a book of poetry entitled "Testigo de uno mismo", was presented in August of last year and at the time of his death he was working on a new book of poems bearing the provisional title "Biografía para encontrarme."   A tribute to Benedetti was even planned for next Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Uruguayan government decreed a day of national mourning and his remains are to be lain in state in the Salón de los Pasos Perdidos in the Congressional building.       May 18, 2009      
Sunday, 17 May 2009
Author:Karl Baden
  Covering Photography   Whether we buy a book, borrow it from a friend or withdraw it from the library, our purpose, in almost every instance, is to read it. If the book has an illustrated cover, we'll usually give it a brief glance; but even if we fall in love with that cover image and allow it to burn itself into our memory, it is really the content, not the cover of the book, that we are after... and this, dear reader, is as it should be.   The books in this exhibition, however, are not here because of their content; they are here because of their covers: storyline, subject matter... everything that takes place between the covers is, for the purposes of this show, secondary, if not incidental.   Why should we care about book cover illustrations? The quality of the design? The high level of craft? The originality of concept? All good reasons, but in this case not the right reasons. In fact, it may be argued that the unoriginality of these covers is what makes them worthy of examination.   All of these books have been chosen because the images on their jackets reference, in some way, another image; a photograph, to be more precise: a photograph whose significance or popularity has earned it, or its maker, a place in the history of photography.   What? Designers and illustrators stealing pictorial ideas from photographers and using them for their own purposes? Well, yes, and as things turn out, the practice is neither outrageous nor even uncommon. Creative individuals from every discipline have regularly appropriated the ideas of others, at the very least as a foundation to build on. Something once said by Sir Isaac Newton comes to mind:   "If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants."   But perhaps Newton is a bit too reverential. More to the point may be a quote by the composer Igor Stravinsky (also attributed to Pablo Picasso):   "Lesser artists borrow; great artists steal."   We live in a culture that remains current by continually recycling its past, and we have done so, to greater or lesser degree, for centuries. In fact, the more past we accumulate, the more we seem to rely on it; we source it for stimulation and rip it off for spare parts. Artists of all disciplines now mine the histories of art and culture as a matter of course, looking for imagery that may inspire them in, or provide justification for, their own works.   In the case of book covers, designers routinely rummage through monographs and anthologies of photographs, in search of source material that may serve as metaphor for the content of the books they have been commissioned to illustrate.   In this exhibition, each book cover is directly compared to a well-known photograph with which it has some degree of similarity. The amount of similarity varies, of course, and that is where the comparison can become interesting: Sometimes the connection is quite obvious; an instance of imitation or even blatant appropriation. In other cases it is more a question of the designer or illustrator being subtly, perhaps even unconsciously, influenced by a particular photographer or photograph. Finally, there may be no direct, or even indirect, trail of influence, but rather, for lack of a better term, an 'intelligent' coincidence; ie, an idea or visual trope that is, as Carl Jung might have put it, part of our collective cultural consciousness. This last type of connection may manifest itself in a variety of ways by groups or individuals who have no obvious connection to each other.   By comparing book cover art to the photographs from which they are, or may be, derived,Imitation, Influence and Coincidence attempts to pose the questions: How far can this notion of influence be stretched before it breaks? How is visual syntax processed by culture, and when does influence end and coincidence begin? Rather than providing specific answers for individual cases, the examples in this exhibition have been assembled in the hope that we may give thought to some of the more complex ideas these questions raise, and, perhaps, be prompted to raise some questions of our own... or at least have a more visually compelling experience during our next bookstore visit.   Go to tour  
Thursday, 07 May 2009
Author:Juan Antonio Molina
  What’s up with photography in Mexico?   My first impulse is to suppose that the Photography Biennial could answer that question. And maybe it can indeed, but not necessarily. Or perhaps not necessarily in the way we usually think.   I’d like to say that the selection of works selected by the jury for the 13th Photography Biennial is representative of Mexican photography, but not in the essential sense that is generally attributed to the term “representation.” This group of works does not stand in place of Mexican photography. Its representative nature arises from the fact that it seems to sum up a norm. So, what is “normal” in contemporary Mexican photography?.   Almost a decade ago, I was naïve enough to write a text in which I reviewed the notion of “constructed photography” and its relation to an array of artistic traditions, ranging from Surrealism and Constructivism to Conceptualism and Post-Conceptualism. All of this to find a place, within what was regarded as normal, for several tendencies in Mexican photography, which to me, perhaps because of my foreign or “odd” way of looking at things, struck me as extremely coherent in terms of their times, as well as with their history.   At that time, it seemed not at all unusual to find some keys in Mexican photography that were common for photographic and artistic practice in many other cultural contexts. And it also seemed not particularly surprising to discover that these keys had ties with a tradition (a tradition of rupture, but nonetheless a tradition) that dated back probably to some of the modernist experiences. Now I find that these keys persist, with the sole difference that they have moved away from “normalizing” a situation that seemed much more subversive a decade ago.   I can almost literally repeat the words I uttered eight years ago: It has changed the way of conceiving of relationships of the image with reality, probably because it has changed the way of conceiving reality itself. The photographic image has ceased to be regarded as an object enclosed in its technical and linguistic specificity; now it is regarded as a mixed object, open to exchanges in languages and textual references. Events are staged, objects are invented, and subjects are disguised. The fiction may be simultaneously the subject, the support, the origin, the context, the epidermis, and the significance of the photographic image. The photo is presented as a document of a prior aesthetic event. The visual experience sums up a cognitive act that is in itself a sort of invention of the object of knowledge. All of this is in order to reconstruct its identity or to convey a highly subjective identity. The image exists as a paradox more than as a paradigm.     Beyond appearances and particular forms of intelligence employed in each creative process, these are some of trends within contemporary photography on an international level. They correspond to a state of visual culture that is transnational and eclectic. In that situation, local contexts open up, expand, and are juxtaposed. And it is easy to suppose that the illusion of “globality” in which we live has come to standardize all processes of representation in accord with a single referent, or even worse, an absence of a clear referent.   Nonetheless, what this body of photographs shows—if there is some utility in extracting a hypothesis for a display that is so “unrepresentative”—is that globalization entails its own counterpart: the tendency to emphasize minimum identities, micro-accounts, local contexts, which certainly are incomprehensible for ambitious nationalist discourses, but that also refuse to be dissolved into a suspect universality.   What is happening with Mexican photography is that it is defining its “Mexicanness” based on fragments, through shifting terrains (still not yet institutional), through discourses that are “fragile,” compared with the grandiloquence of the epic of times past.   In these processes, a weak realism is produced, that no longer seeks a specific paradigm to reinforce itself, and that, nonetheless, serves to explore specific cultural spaces and subjects that have historically been at the margins of representation. In those variants of realism, the portrait has assumed inevitable importance, because it seems to be one of the most appropriate tools for certain enquiries and lines of questioning regarding identities.     For example, Carlos Álvarez Montero makes portraits of young people of both sexes who are trained in boxing. In the same gym where they work out, these kids, who are barely older than adolescents, pose in front of the camera with expressions that show they are highly aware of the fiction. It is extremely interesting, because it seems as if each subject were aware that the result of the photographic act will only be a representation alien to him or her. Carlos Álvarez entitles each photo with the name of the subject, as if seeking to recover some part of those identities that the camera has placed in crisis. However, the swollen faces, the expressions of exhaustion, the detached (or alienated) air of the poses and the absence of sympathy toward the camera, could be more shocking to the viewers.   With equally ambiguous results, Andrés Carretero offers a series of portraits of albinos, entitled Phenotypes. They are also images in which the identity of the subjects, which should depend on their physical appearance, contradicts the fictitious air of many of the images. The poses add to this effect, because they display the theatrical approach of the subjects to representing themselves and to defining themselves in front of the camera. But the way the photographer himself also modified the relationship of coherence between each subject and context also has an effect, seeking settings in which the individuals photographed seem to be transplanted, as if it were their fate to feel uncomfortable in any situation.   At a certain point Carretero’s work touches on the ethnographic and that is where it is related to other projects, such as that of Lizzet Luna Gamboa, who started out with a survey and a computer program to develop a fictitious portrait (more of a model) of the ideal Mexican male and female. This work (in some ways recalls the series Anthropology of the Modern Body, executed by Marianna Dellekamp a decade ago) manages to filter, through forensics and anthropology, a gaze that does not cease to be ironic and critical when it comes to the induced and artificial character of patterns of beauty. In addition, José Luis Cuevas, with his series The Average Man, deals with that element of classification and typology inherent to ethnographic representations, maintaining an ironic tone. Even work such as that of Tania Jiménez D’Sahagún starts out with a methodology characteristic of sociological studies, and that is what determines the selection of subjects photographed and the formats that are shown in the portraits.       As can be seen, these approaches posit a notion of realism that is paradoxical, for it rightly points to the issue of “reality” in the photographic subject. It is a realism that takes on identities as representations, as aspirations, as staging or as transitional situations, never as permanent states. This notion of realism continues to be open to works that question the cultural, political, and social reality of Mexico and Latin America, with an ambivalent tone, as in the respective projects of Carla Verea Hernández and Arelí Vargas Colmenero (who, by the way, also play with typologies) or in a more direct way, such as the series by José Hernández Claire on migration in Mexico, or the photos of Livia Corona, on urban settlements in the northern part of the country.   Some of the works arose from that affinity that photography has always had with the fantastic and the mysterious. In the case of Gerardo Montiel Klint, this particular visual approach seems to be linked most evidently with his predilection for narratives that border on the absurd, that explore the limits of tragedy, and that always suggest a possibility of latent violence. In the works of Lucía Castañeda Garma, Oswaldo Ruiz Chapa, Miguel Ángel Ortega Bugarin, and the collective Sector Reforma, the photo emerges from a more “primitive” relationship between the subjectivity of the photographer, the contemplated reality, and the photographic tools, even when manipulation is a possibility. The photos of Fernando Montiel Klint, composed of multicolored settings and strident colors, have a mixed mood, hovering between unreality and hyper-reality, which blurs the distinction of the limits between manipulation and documentation.   There are also some examples of an almost obsessive fixation on the visual, in which the aesthetic effect comes from ambiguous, volatile, almost ungraspable structures, such as those produced by Zony Maya Zetune and Oritia Ruiz Pulido. And there are works, such as those of Sandra Valenzuela and Enrique Balleza Dávila that seem to be hypnotic reconstructions of light and color, semi-abstract reformulations of natural forms or proto-organic references to certain motifs already “marked” by modern art history. The video by Claudia Flores Lobatón also enters into this range, with an intensity that is derived from the combination of sound, fixed image, and moving image, which ultimately is a means of crossing different time frames.     The survey of all of these variants makes it clear that the list is not as brief as might seem at first sight. And that the whole, although articulated, does not fall into monotony. The options of realism achieve extremes, such as the video by Mario Héctor Gómez; it is an excellent example of a documentary short. Working with portraits becomes subtle and metaphoric in the domestic interiors by Blas Yuri Manrique. The snapshots in the public space shows Misael Torres as a photographer with intuition and talent. Marianna Dellekamp offers a sophisticated work that localizes the human being as the ultimate referent of the document. Fernando Etulain converts research on perspective into a refined interplay, recreating planes and textures, suggesting new possibilities for the collage, the intervention and appropriation of historical images.   I insist that we are speaking of what is “normal.” And I emphasize this point, because I believe that beyond this group, bolder, perhaps less solid, but no less promising, approaches can also be found. And I understand that the Centro de la Imagen will not overlook those other possibilities, with which new routes can be staked out for photography in Mexico and Latin America. The origin of these routes is inevitably a zone of risks and the unexpected.   By assuming the task of organizing a new Photography Biennial, we start out by recognizing that much of the impact that the Centro de la Imagen’s work is focused on those inaugural moments, at times promising, and always unpredictable. In that sense, it is the Centro de la Imagen’s influence on the development and training of new photographers and new photographic visions may be understood. We might even say that the work of the Centro de la Imagen over the years is much more evident in the field of “young” photography, as long as it is possible to divest the term of excessively generational implications.   What is important is the zone of influence that the Centro de la Imagen has fundamentally preserved through its educational programs, even when concrete results are generally visible through exhibitions and other promotional programs and the circulation of art work, in which the Photography Biennial continues to play an important role.   With this perspective, we have sought to integrate the diverse programs in the 13th Photography Biennial, imbuing the entire project with a broad character. This has led us to shift the center of gravity from the competition to the rest of the complementary projects and activities. Although the competition continues to be a useful tool for the promotion and stimulation of contemporary artists who work in photography, it is also true that the Biennial must take on a much more complex program, whose scope and objectives might become banal if they depended exclusively on the mechanisms of judgment and selection imposed by any competition.   Our principal aim is to organize the Photography Biennial according to a model in which different curatorial, investigative, promotional, and educational projects interact, balancing their importance and impact with those of the competition. Thus, we seek to achieve greater coherence between the Biennial and the overall work proposal of the Centro de la Imagen for the years to come.   Therefore, it is important to mention that at least six exhibitions converge at the 13th Photography Biennial, several international in character. From the prestigious Fotofest comes the exhibition Discoveries of the Meeting Place, with the work of ten artists selected by different curators, through reviews of portfolios during the 2006 Festival. The list includes artists from England, the United States, South Korea, Germany, Denmark, and the Czech Republic.   From the 2007 Photo Poland festival is the personal exhibition of Konrad Pustola, a Polish artist living in London. His work, along with that of five other photographers, was also selected through the joint work of several contemporary photography curators and researchers to represent the festival at different international events.   The Art Gallery of Ontario contributes a project that follows a fairly exemplary model to the 13th Photography Biennial. The Grange Prize is a competition that has been held annually since 2007, in which photographers from Canada and other countries participate and are selected by a group of curators. Once the final selection is complete, the public votes, through a website designed for this purpose, to designate the winner of the prize, which consists of fifty thousand Canadian dollars. On this occasion, the winner will be chosen among several Canadian and Mexican photographers. The works that are competing will be exhibited in Mexico as well as in Canada.   The exhibition of works produced by students of the Centro de la Imagen’s Contemporary Photography Seminar is another example of the intersection between educational programs and curatorial work. Finally, the Brief Anthology, which brings together participating works from prior biennials, serves to establish links between contemporary approaches and others that belong to the history or “memory” of this event.   What I have described here seems to be a sampling of all the attitudes that could be assumed when one is confronted with the language of photography. But it would be overly naïve to suppose that all the possibilities on this point have been exhausted. We are only before a partial group within an art world that is much vaster and that merits equal effort to be understood. Reviewing this group of photos has been like contemplating one of the many combinations of a kaleidoscope. After this experience, the most coherent act is to continue trying out other combinations. It could be a poetic way of probing the other limits of risk.   Juan Antonio Molina Coordinator XIII Bienal de Fotografía     XIII Bienal de Fotografía. Centro de la Imagen/CENART/CONACULTA. México DF, 2008. Pp 9-13.    
Thursday, 07 May 2009
Author:Pedro Meyer
    Mexico City is a very quiet place today. All restaurants, bars, discos, nightclubs, bowling alleys and billiard halls are closed. No movie houses, galleries, museums, or cultural programs to visit. No sports events or religious activities such as Mass, either. All Schools from grade school all the way up to Universities, are also closed down. You can visit with friends of course, however most people seem to choose staying at home, connected to their TV sets, telephones, cell phones, or computers. As of tomorrow, no business are to be open either. It is mostly a shut down of the entire system. The reason for this is to try and keep all of us separate to prevent the H1N1 virus from spreading.   As if this dire scenario was not enough, we just had an earthquake, 5.8 on the Richter scale; of course this was followed by some very high winds, and I don't even now why I write "of course", but it seems that with the heat and all that is going on, and having the earth shake, high winds would be the natural thing to follow. Well, the result of the high winds, was that the electrical power grid started to shake and all sorts of short circuits took place in the area where we live, as a result of this we then had six power outages during the day. When there is no electricity, there is in tandem no water. The pumps stop functioning. All of this amidst the fear of becoming infected, without being certain how, since all we know is derived from shear speculation.   The city appears to have vacuumed off, more than half the population, which is good given the notion that the swine-flu can be transmitted mostly from person to person. The results have yet to be seen. Hopefully for the sake of everyone it will work.   This isolation is made even worse, as many airlines from different parts of the world shut down their services to Mexico. The awareness of the shut down, is as important as the need to go someplace.   A report from a friend who landed in Shanghai, was that when she chatted with the taxi driver and told him, as a side remark, that she was from Mexico, the man stopped his car and asked her to get out. Or my ex wife, who went to New York for a meeting on a film she is working on, the people with whom she was about to meet, asked her to meet them in a park not in their offices. That meeting was later canceled because the people who were to attend the meeting did not even consider the park a safe middle ground. So much for paranoia.   I get the sense of living through scenes out of the sinking Titanic, with many trying to climb onto the lifeboats pushing others aside, and only thinking in terms of their own survival at any cost. I recall the image of the man trying to get on a boat only for women and children, disguised as a woman. It is slowly getting meaner when you look at the world scene and how people behave.   People in supermarkets scrambling to get food and filling their carts to the brim even when it is not needed, one woman took all the tuna cans on the shelf at the supermarket.... she will have enough tuna to last her a life time, and mind you there isn't even any scarcity of food here, But other than such isolated instances, which surely can happen any where people start to get anxious, here in Mexico City, people are behaving admirably well, and a level of courtesy and a feelings of "togetherness" as in, we are in this all together, that also comes out in periods of crisis.   From the international scene, the sense one derives from the news is that these are apocalyptical times, the messages of solidarity from abroad are few, in the USA, now the back lash against mexicans by those who are opposed to immigration, and those who are a bit less crude, are not all that different in their anti mexican sentiments.   There has not been any evidence that this virus is being transmitted by either eating pork, or touching pigs. However for political expediency, Egypt has ordered the slaughter of the countries heard of swine, and they don't even have any porcine flu in their midst. How is that for planning ahead? At the same time, at a news conference in China, one high Chinese official declared that any suggestion that the swine-flu originated in China, was totally unfair to their pigs. In one place they kill them all, and in the other country they honor them.   Yet for all that is happening, you should know that ZoneZero is being produced here in the very heart of what is being called an almost pandemic [ the WHO declared yesterday stage 5 our of 6] . We are working from our homes, and making it possible to continue as we have done always. I should have you know our messages to you will arrive without any virus, so do not worry.   "When pigs fly" is an idiomatic way of saying that something will never happen. As put by the" wikipedia entry: Pigs are heavy animals, without wings, and cannot possibly fly. So "when pigs fly" is a time that will never come. The phrase is used for humorous effect to scoff at someone's intentions to achieve or carry out something which is beyond their previous efforts and accomplishments". . Well, it seems that the time has come, that pigs are indeed flying here, with this porcine flu being at the center piece of our attention world-wide.   However all these events might turn out in the end, I am delighted to share with you today, that on the digital front of photography pigs are also flying. As if the fusion of video cameras and dSLRs hadn't blurred enough before, Esquire shot their June issue cover of Megan Fox in video—a purported first in the magazine world.   We have written about this in several of our previous editorials, but only now has this become a reality. And this is only the beginning.   We invite you cordially to share with us all your own pictures of what is happening in your world regarding this porcine flu epidemic.   With my best regards from Mexico City Pedro Meyer May 1, 2009         
Friday, 01 May 2009
Author:Hans Durrer
  One of my problems with photography, especially documentary photography, is that it is intrusive. To alleviate this problem, regardless whether it concerns press photos or portraits, photography needs the collaboration between photographer and subject.   "War Photographer", a documentary by Christian Frei about the work of the photographer James Nachtwey, was nominated for an Oscar (in 2002) and won twelve international film festivals.   Two mini video recorders placed on Nachtwey's camera allowed the viewers to see what the photographer was seeing. In Kosovo: a crying woman. People try to comfort her. She has just learned, one suspects, that someone close to her — maybe her son, maybe her husband? — was killed, or found in a mass grave? We are not told, we do not know, we are left guessing. Neither do we know what the photographer knows. We see what the photographer sees: a woman crying, her face full of pain, women who try to calm and comfort her. Nachtwey is getting closer and closer, he aims the camera at her face and ceaselessly presses the button. How is he able to do that? Doesn't he feel awkward, and embarrassed? Doesn't he have scruples?     On the website of this film, this quote by Nachtwey can be found: "Every minute I was there, I wanted to flee. I did not want to see this. Would I cut and run, or would I deal with the responsibility of being there with a camera?" In the film we can hear him more than once stressing the importance of having respect. He also says he understands himself as being the spokesperson for the ones he portrays.   I'm glad that Nachtwey's photos exist and remind us of things we would probably rather not be reminded of. I want to believe his good intentions. Yet, I also feel that there is something wrong with this kind of photography because the ones portrayed are used; they have no say in how they are depicted and later are put in pages of books, or hung on walls.   Let's look at Nachtwey's rationalizations.   I'm not sure what this is, "the responsibility of being there with a camera." Does that mean that because he is a professional photographer who goes to take pictures in war zones, he has an obligation to take these photos? According to whom? And if so, toward whom does he have this obligation?   Yes, respect is needed, it is imperative, but how does it translate into action? To hold a camera into the face of a grieving person is indefensible; it is the opposite of showing respect; it is the total absence of tact, courtesy and decency. Is he really their spokesperson? How can he be? How does he know that they need or want a spokesperson?   Photography is an intrusive medium. Quite a few photographers describe their business in somewhat aggressive terms as shooting pictures. One way of softening this intrusiveness — if one so wishes — is the collaboration between photographer and the ones portrayed. Such collaboration is not uncommon, just think of photo ops or portraits.   In the London Guardian of 18 January 2003, Liz Jobey quotes the next note by the Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron on what she saw as her first successful photograph:   "At 1pm on January 29 1864, a little girl with cherubic features and scraggy, shoulder-length hair was buttoned into her winter coat, waiting patiently for her photograph to be taken. In front of her, a short, stocky, middle-aged woman fitted another glass plate into the back of her huge camera and begged the child to keep still. She was probably counting, too; it could take up to five minutes for the image to be fully exposed. If the girl was bored, she didn't show it. Her face, turned in half-profile to catch the light, was composed but alive, its curves heightened by the contrast between shadow and light. It was a happy result — we know, because the photographer wrote to the girl's father later that day: 'My first perfect success in the complete Photograph owing greatly to the docility & sweetness of my best and fairest little sitter. This Photograph was taken by me at 1pm Friday Jan 29th Printed Toned — fixed and framed all by me & given as it now is by 8pm this same day Jan 29th 1864. Julia Margaret Cameron.'"   Ten years later, in her memoir, Annals of My Glass House, Cameron expanded on this moment, "I was in a transport of delight. I ran all over the house to search for gifts for the child. I felt as if she entirely had made the picture."   More recently, Murat Nemet-Nejat (2003), in The Peripheral Space of Photography, also stresses the importance of the subject's behavior: "The pose is a photographic dimension which goes beyond the intention of the photographer and suggests the independence, asserts even the very existence, of the subject. The pose is the key to catch the independent, socially ignored, unsaid unacknowledged in the photographic act."   Agreed, but there are photographers who do acknowledge the importance of the pose. Lisa Kahane (2008), in Do Not Give Way to Evil, writes, "Despite the official cynicism about street photography, the people I met in the neighborhood were happy to have their picture taken. They stopped their cars in the middle of the street (very Bronx) and got out to pose for me. They were proud and generous. No one I met had more than a passing thought about taking my camera from me."   In times when (some) photographers hold celebrity status, it is useful to be reminded that a good photograph does not solely depend on the photographer's ability to choose the right subject, location and light, but also on the chemistry and the collaboration, between photographer and subject.   A good illustration of this is One Step Beyond, the multimedia project about landmines and their victims by the German photographer Lukas Einsele. Because Einsele makes his pictures with a large-format camera, staging is unavoidable because, as he wrote to me in an e-mail: "The camera is visible, the photo — its exposition — lasts such a long time that a certain acquiescence has to exist between photographer and subject. Sure, there are exceptions, but actually I'm looking for these common productions by which the subjects become co-authors of an image-reality."   When looking at works of photography, viewers often don't know whether such types of collaboration as those mentioned above have taken place. Sometimes viewers learn about it, more often they don't. Photographs invite us to ask questions: What do my eyes show me? How did the photo come to be? What doesn't it show? And so on.   Walker Evans, while working for the Resettlement Administration in the 1930s, took photos of sharecroppers in Alabama. He portrayed them in their daily lives, at times with worn-out clothes, dirty feet, uncombed hair and unshaven faces, because he wanted to document the circumstances they were living in. That, however, seems not have been to their liking, for there exists one photo — one that Evans did not use in his publications — that shows the family clean and combed and in their Sunday best. One can safely assume that it was taken at the request of the family.   Despite my deep sympathy for socially inclined photographers, when the people portrayed feel ashamed of their portraits, there clearly is something wrong with this kind of photography.   Hans Durrer April, 2009   References • Cameron, Julia Margaret (1874), Annals of my glass house. Compiled and annotated by Violet Hamilton. Retrieved on March 18, 2008, from: Victorian photographs: Julia Margaret Cameron. • Einsele, Lukas (2000-2005), One step beyond. The mine revisited. Retrieved on March 18, 2008, from: One Step Beyond. • Jobey, Liz (2003), First light In: The Guardian, January 18, 2003. • Kahane, Lisa (2008), Do not give way to evil. Photographs of the South Bronx, 1979-1987. Brooklyn, New York: PowerHouse Books. • Nemet-Nejat, Murat (2003), The peripheral space of photography. Los Angeles, California: Green Integer Press.    
Monday, 20 April 2009
      A friend of mine sent me this link. It comes with no credits, and no website to understand the context. It seems however as a film trailer. We share it with you, simply because we are delighted to see the many directions and possibilities that still images have been taking. It gives us chills to think of the future of imaging. If anybody knows more about it, please share with us.   Nadia Baram Picture Editor   More info on this article:    
Sunday, 19 April 2009
Author:Martin Parr
An expert's take on that Madonna image     Madonna has released an image of herself holding Mercy, the Malawian baby she hopes to adopt. It's in sepia. Why?   Choosing sepia is all to do with trying to make the image look romantic and idealistic. It's sort of a soft version of propaganda. Remember when the colour supplements used to run black-and-white pictures of famine and hardship? Some still do. They do that because they want to make it look more authentic. But it's a fabrication. You can't shoot in sepia, so converting into black and white and then into brown makes everything feel less real.   Madonna is a clever person and this image is all part of a rigorous attempt to persuade the Malawian courts that her adoption should be allowed to go ahead.   As well as the photo being sepia, there appears to be a subtle soft pink hue on Madonna herself. I guess this is the colour of reassuring, concerned maternity. You can imagine Madonna and her team thinking this through in the same way an advertising campaign is orchestrated.   This predilection for sepia is all part of the baggage we have about photography. Despite all the above people seem to think it looks more real. Only 30 years ago, if you were a serious photographer, part of the art world, you had to work in black and white. You were almost scorned as commercial if you shot only in colour. When I first started doing colour in 1982/83 there had only been one serious exhibition in colour (that was Peter Mitchell at the Impressions gallery in York in 1979, with an exhibition entitled A New Refutation of the Viking IV Space Mission). It was a scandal in the world of photography. But it convinced me that colour wasn't the domain of the commercial and snapshot photographer.   Some, however, still harbour the notion of a black and white humanist photographer. Sepia in particular tends to make everything look a bit romantic and almost sentimental, hence the fact that it remains such a popular choice for wedding photographs.   It suggests old values, and in our days of modernisation, we hanker after that.   Martin PArr The Guardian, Wednesday 15 April 2009     
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Author:Getty Images
  We proudly support photographers who use imagery to promote positive change in our world. To that end, we’ve launched our Grants for Good.   Nonprofit agencies need imagery to tell their stories – which is why our Grants for Good provides two annual grants of $15,000 to cover photographers’ costs as they create compelling new imagery for the nonprofit of their choice.   Grant recipients may use the entire award to offset shoot expenses, or choose to donate all or part of it directly to their charity and contribute their own time and resources. The winning photographers will have the option to work with our team of art directors, photo editors and producers for project support. The photographer and the nonprofit, as well as any creative agency involved, will be showcased to the media and featured on our community involvement page.   Feel free to contact us with questions about our Grants for Good at:   Application deadlines April 15, 2009 Grants will be announced in June 2009.   For more info go to:    
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Author:Galba Sandras
Date: April 9, 2009 8:06:08 AM   Dear Zonezero.   I am currently living in the northest os Brazil as a working photographer in the areas of advertizementt and fashion. I began experimenting with fine art photography latter turning to comercial but never living the fine art aspect of photography and allways exploring diferent ways to photrgraf the nude. I found out about Zonezero reading about a friend who was showcased on your website. As soon as I entered the web side I felt it was a place I would like to be in touch with for its quality, ayout and diversity of work and people from around the world.   Congratulations for your great work.   Galba Sandras   ps: I wiil soon submit some of my work for your apreciation  
Thursday, 09 April 2009
Author:BBC News
  BBC NEWS | March 11, 2009       Caravaggio used an early form of photography to create his masterpieces 200 years before the invention of the camera, a researcher has claimed.         Roberta Lapucci said the Italian artist - noted for his chiaroscuro (light and shadow) paintings - used "techniques that are the basis of photography".   It was already known he worked in a "darkroom" and illuminated his models through a hole in the ceiling.   But Ms Lapucci believes the image was also projected on a canvas and "fixed".   Light-sensitive substances applied to the canvas would have "fixed" the image for around 30 minutes, allowing Caravaggio to paint the image with broad strokes using white lead mixed with chemicals and minerals that were visible in the dark.   Ms Lapucci, who is a teacher at the prestigious Studio Art Centers International in Florence, is the first researcher to suggest the 16th century painter treated the canvas with light-sensitive substances.   She believes he could have used a photoluminescent powder from crushed fireflies, which was used at the time to create special effects in theatre productions.   "There is lots of proof, notably the fact that Caravaggio never made preliminary sketches. So it is plausible that he used these 'projections' to paint," she said.   Noting that "an abnormal number of his subjects were left-handed," Lapucci said: "That could be explained by the fact that the image projected on the canvas was backwards."   She added: "This anomaly disappears in the artist's later works, a sign that the instruments he used were improving. Also thanks to technical progress, his paintings gain a lot in depth of field over the years."   Ms Lapucci said the use of such techniques did not detract from the artist's work.   "His mastery of certain techniques before his time in no way diminishes his genius. To the contrary, clearly, you can't just project images on a canvas and copy them to become a Caravaggio."     BBC NEWS March, 2009    
Sunday, 08 March 2009
Author:Phillipe de Montebello
La | march 19, 2009         "The contemplation of art requires patience; we spend too little time in front of the works."             At the end of last month after thirty-one years as director, Philippe de Montebello left the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He left behind an impeccable trajectory, marked by excellence and quality, and an institution that today is a model of reference for the great museums of the world. Tomorrow Montebello will deliver the keynote address at the first course organized by the Prado Museum that will analyze the present and future of museums.   "One of the reasons I left the museum,” Montebello explained, “was because I am convinced that I am not the person of tomorrow for the museum. I am the person of yesterday and now is the time to redo things, to reinvent the model of the Metropolitan."     Is it the time for new technologies, or the Internet?   Yes. This is the communications medium of the new generations. And we are forced to communicate with them in their language. They do not read newspapers, they read screens. And this is something that someone like me, someone who was born before World War II, cannot do. The possibility that Google Earth offers to contemplate certain works of art in the Prado is something marvelous. You can zoom in on details that the naked eye cannot see, but what you see is false, because not even the artist or the viewer can do so. Technology helps, adds, inspires sight, but it does not take its place. Physical contemplation is necessary and the public knows it.     Is the Met still the model to follow?   I prefer to use a broader way of looking at things. I have studied the major museums in the world and each one has its role and acts in a different way for diverse publics. There is no model that serves for all of them. The Met is a special museum, truly encyclopedic, universal, spanning five thousand years of history, utterly unlike the National Gallery of London or the Prado, which are painting collections that focus on European art, or museums such as the one in Athens or Cairo, which focus on the art of their respective countries. There is indeed an ethic that we should all follow, based on excellence, on independent thought, on probity.   Is that independence possible in national museums like the Prado?   The Prado is not limited like other museums, which I will not mention, that depend on governments and ministers who can exert very direct influence over them. There is a very healthy balance at the Prado.   What tools help achieve excellence?   "Excellence is an abstract notion. A permanent feeling of always overcoming. Doing things better with each day, never falling into the trap of repeating things, taking a critical look at oneself. One can be excellent in aims, in the way one acts, in art itself. There is a hierarchy in the quality of works, there are very good ones, good, and mediocre ones, which in no way prevents excellence, and that we must recognize, because everything is not equal."   Are museums conditioned by public success?   "We serve the public. The measure is not the number of people who enter a museum, but rather the quality of the experience. Measuring that quality is difficult, but not impossible. Their reactions can be observed, we can know if they return, or if they are habitual visitors. If they do not wish to return, it would be a sign that the museum has done a bad job. The public makes no mistake, it is intelligent, and it deserves respect, it always surprises me for its discernment and intelligence."     Is it good to have the exaggerated prominence of some directors or curators?   It is not good, it is essential, they are the magicians, the soul of a museum, everything comes from the curators, from their knowledge, from their science, it is the reason why almost all directors were curators at one time or another.   Are there inherent differences between a history museum and a contemporary art museum?   "The difference resides in the art represented. If it really is a contemporary art museum, the works have not passed the test of history, they cannot be judged in the same way as ancient works whose value has been confirmed by many generations. Their activity is a gamble of the present and the future that entails taking a risk. In a certain way, a contemporary art museum is a contradiction; it should be more of a gallery. A museum is valuable for art to take root, but contemporary art is something alive. They are called museums because they are public, open, and they have curators."   Museums have sometimes been criticized for their extremely close ties to the market.   That’s reality. There is a market and artists need to eat, pay their rent, sell their works, and there are museums that buy them. Nothing can be done in this world without money. I think that speaking of business as if it were something evil is wrong.   What do you think about the Prado’s decision on “The Colossus”?   "We are forced to present the truth; we must not lie to the public. The Prado has shown its courage by diminishing the symbolic value of such a famous painting. With this action, it improves it public reputation and reinforces the public’s confidence in the veracity of other attributions."   You think of the museum as a repository of centuries of knowledge, but normally the visitor fixates on the formal aspects of the works. How can historical awareness be improved?   "The works must be accompanied by information that facilitates their comprehension and enjoyment. It is a mistake to think that if the label accompanying the work is lengthy, museum visitors only read without looking at the work; that’s not true. The reality is that if there is little information, the public glances at the work and walks away. On the other hand, they can learn something new if they spend more time contemplating the work."   Which museums do you prefer, big ones or small ones?   "In all things in life, I like variety. Museums are too big only if you want to visit them in a single day. Any museum larger than the Lázaro Galdiano is too big for one day. Listening to Beethoven’s nine symphonies one after another would be madness. The best way to visit a museum is to choose a few rooms, see them well, and then return another day to see others. The visit cannot be an inventory. It is clear that many museum visitors go for just a day, someone who comes from far away for just one day, does not mean they are stupid. People who live in Madrid can come to the Prado many times."   What are the works that you never miss when you come to the Prado?   "They change with every visit, depending on my mood. The painting that moved me the other day, tomorrow could leave me cold".   How would you explain the experience of contemplating art?   "It requires time and patience. We spend too little time in front of the artwork. One needs to stay and wait for the painting to speak to us, because most artworks do not burst out their message all at once, they share it slowly, it is a silent, very rich and profound dialogue."     Does it teach us to enjoy art?   "No. And this is a museum’s job, an educator’s job. Museums should offer a leaflet that teaches one to look at an artwork, how to approach it, and to let it speak. In museums, people stand too far away from the works, it is necessary to get close, without touching them, to see the brushstrokes, the lines, the handling of the material. Without being in a rush. In some lectures, I start with a blank image to gradually put the image of a painting together, choosing, as the artist did, the different possibilities in the composition, the figures, in their representation. It is something that fascinates the audience".   Have these two months out of the museum changed your way of seeing things?   "I am surely it will change, I don’t know how, but it will change. I used to spend all day in meeting after meeting. Now I have time to think, to reflect".     La March, 2009    
Saturday, 07 March 2009
Author:Pedro Meyer
    This morning I read in the Mexican newspaper, Reforma that the Chinese government just announced the construction of a new automobile factory in Mexico. This is at a time that other car manufacturers, the world over, are falling apart.   What this tells me is that the misfortunes of some does not need to be the same for everyone else. In fact the Chinese economy is growing, notwithstanding the reduction of their own export market to the rest of the world, and they are doing so at a pace of around 6.5% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) by stimulating their own internal markets. There is one fundamental difference to what is happening in the rest of the world: their stimulus packages are financed from within, with their own reserves, whilst the US is financed mainly by the Chinese.   Just make a projection on to the future, and consider that when the worldwide recession comes to an end, the Chinese will not only have grown considerably more than the West, but will not have any substantial debt to deal with. Much of the western nations will have to slowly pay back their accumulated debt, and to work down the reduction of their huge deficits, which will take at least a decade to resolve. I will call this the "lost decade" (lost to the Chinese, of course).   I recall when the digital era just started, and we were working with Photoshop 1 and 2, I had a colleague who for some time had been making my contact sheets. This was just at the end of the analog era, and the beginning of the technological changes related to a change of paradigm in photography. Jonathan Reff, started a business as a consultant to photographers who wanted to learn about all the new tools of the digital era. Among them was one photographer who was probably at the time the most important photographer to the auto industry.   His pictures were legend, in so far as all the efforts that went into making the perfect picture at the right time during the sunset overlooking, for instance the Pacific Ocean from Malibu beach. The fees for such pictures would run into the triple digits. The images were made with 8 x 10 view cameras using of course film. The production of such images required a field of assitants, lights, and a slew of cars, like a big Hollywood production.   Jonathan would suggest to this photographer that he should start looking into the digital age and how the production of the images for which he was so well known, and for which he almost had a monopoly in taking such specialty pictures, could be made much more efficiently. Unfortunately, he felt he did not need to bother, that what he was doing could not be done any better, thus he only paid marginal attention to Jonathans' recommendations.   He simply forgot that there were a lot of other photographers who were keen to exploit this opportunity, and offer the same images for a third of the price, because they knew how to do it. Jonathan's client unfortunately never followed through on his recommendations, until it was too late. He lost the business and subsequently went broke. This happened in the early nineties.   Interestingly enough, two of the clients of this photographer were General Motors, and Chrysler. They in turn never got the message either, and produced cars much as this photographer made his pictures. Huge production expenses, and no sense for the changes that required a new vision.   I bring up some of these issues, because all too many photography schools in the world, are still preparing future photographers with the technologies of the analog era. I don't have any problem what so ever with people having a preference for old methods of production, provided that they are actually aware that they will not be able to compete in the marketplace. But if you are going to school to learn about preparing yourself for the future to make a living, you better be aware that the world is changing as you read these words.   Yes, photography is not only utilitarian, but a tool for artistic expression as well, or vice versa. But even the most recalcitrant of colleagues who sees him or herself solely in artistic terms and sees the world in a very traditionalist way, will have to acknowledge that the distribution of their work will inevitably be linked at some point in time, with the new technologies with which to distribute, or even produce some of their work. Even people who do finger-painting, can be found to use the internet to show off their creations.   The "lost decade", does not need to happen to you.   Pedro Meyer March 2009 Mexico City, Coyoacán         
Monday, 02 March 2009
Author:Christian Caujolle
    The week of openings in the first Phnom Penh Photo Festival in Cambodia has been a resounding success in a country largely lacking a tradition of visual culture and training, with the exception of mass media based on television and the Thai model (i.e. that of the United States).               Most of the twelve exhibitions feature young artists. They have been mounted in prestigious galleries, such as the one in the National Museum with Laurence Leblanc’s work on Cambodia. The French Cultural Center, which began the project, displays the work of Thai artist Manit Srimanichpoon, of the young French photographer Marion Poussier, and Cambodian artist Lino Vuth. They attract both local people, who are somewhat stunned when they enter the exhibition because they have never before had a chance to see photo exhibitions, as well as foreigners living in the capital.   The most spectacular display is that of young French photographer, JR. He has stuck enormous faces in black-and-white, measuring three meters tall, of women from Africa and Brazil onto the two-hundred square meter protective wall around the French Embassy. It is the talk of the town. Motorcyclists stop in the road and it’s got everyone looking.       In private galleries associated with the event, there is a multitude of people who discover photos from India, China, Switzerland, France, and of course, Cambodia.   An attentive public has turned out for the lectures and projections. Thousands of people have come to see images from all over the world on the twelve screens dispersed on the esplanade of the temple of What Botum in the heart of the city for two nights.                     We have already enthusiastically begun to work on the program for the second festival for November-December 2009.   Christian Caujolle Artistic Director of PPP 2008      
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
Author:Hillel Italie
A poster of President Barack Obama, right, by artist Shepard Fairey is shown for comparison with this April 27, 2006 file photo of then-Sen. Barack Obama by Associated Press photographer Manny Garcia at the National Press Club in Washington. Fairey has acknowledged, the poster is based on the AP photograph. (AP Photo/Manny Garcia/ Shepard Fairey) (Manny Garcia, AP / February 4, 2009)     by Hillel Italie | AP National Writer   NEW YORK (AP) — On buttons, posters and Web sites, the image was everywhere during last year's presidential campaign: a pensive Barack Obama looking upward, as if to the future, splashed in a Warholesque red, white and blue and underlined with the caption HOPE.   Designed by Shepard Fairey, a Los Angeles based street artist, the image has led to sales of hundreds of thousands of posters and stickers, and has become so much in demand that copies signed by Fairey have been purchased for thousands of dollars on eBay.   The image, Fairey has acknowledged, is based on an Associated Press photograph, taken in April 2006 by Mannie Garcia on assignment for the AP at the National Press Club in Washington.   The AP says it owns the copyright, and wants credit and compensation. Fairey disagrees.   "The Associated Press has determined that the photograph used in the poster is an AP photo and that its use required permission," the AP's director of media relations, Paul Colford, said in a statement. "AP safeguards its assets and looks at these events on a case-by-case basis. We have reached out to Mr. Fairey's attorney and are in discussions. We hope for an amicable solution."   "We believe fair use protects Shepard's right to do what he did here," says Fairey's lawyer, Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project at Stanford University and a lecturer at the Stanford Law School. "It wouldn't be appropriate to comment beyond that at this time because we are in discussions about this with the AP."   Fair use is a legal concept that allows exceptions to copyright law, based on, among other factors, how much of the original is used, what the new work is used for and how the original is affected by the new work.   Legal experts offered differing views on the Obama image.   Jane Ginsburg, a Columbia University law professor who specializes in copyright cases, questioned whether Fairey has a valid fair-use claim and says that he should have at least credited the AP.   "What makes me uneasy is that it kind of suggests that anybody's photograph is fair game, even if it uses the entire image, and it remains recognizable, and it's not just used in a collage," Ginsburg said. "I think that's pretty radical."   Robin Gross, an intellectual property attorney who heads IP Justice, an international civil liberties organization, believes that Fairey had the right to use the photo, saying that he intended it for a political cause, not commercial use.   "Fairey's purpose of the use for the photo was political or civic, and this will certainly count in favor of the poster being a fair use," said Gross, based in San Francisco. "Nor will the poster diminish the value of the photo, if anything, it has increased the original photo's value beyond measure, another factor counting heavily in favor of fair use."   A longtime rebel with a history of breaking rules, Fairey has said he found the photograph using Google Images. He released the image on his Web site shortly after he created it, in early 2008, and made thousands of posters for the street.   As it caught on, supporters began downloading the image and distributing it at campaign events, while blogs and other Internet sites picked it up. Fairey has said that he did not receive any of the money raised.   A former Obama campaign official said they were well aware of the image based on the picture taken by Garcia, a temporary hire no longer with the AP, but never licensed it or used it officially. The Obama official asked not to be identified because no one was authorized anymore to speak on behalf of the campaign.   The image's fame did not end with the election.   It will be included this month at a Fairey exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and a mixed-media stenciled collage version has been added to the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington.   "The continued use of the poster, regardless of whether it is for galleries or other distribution, is part of the discussion AP is having with Mr. Fairey's representative," Colford said.   A New York Times book on the election, just published by Penguin Group (USA), includes the image. A Vermont-based publisher, Chelsea Green, also used it — credited solely to Fairey— as the cover for Robert Kuttner's "Obama's Challenge," an economic manifesto released in September. Chelsea Green President Margo Baldwin said that Fairey did not ask for money, only that the publisher make a donation to the National Endowment for the Arts.   "It's a wonderful piece of art, but I wish he had been more careful about the licensing of it," said Baldwin, who added that Chelsea Green gave $2,500 USD to the NEA.   Fairey also used the AP photograph for an image designed specially for the Obama inaugural committee, which charged anywhere from $100 USD for a poster to $500 USD for a poster signed by the artist.   Fairey has said that he first designed the image a year ago after he was encouraged by the Obama campaign to come up with some kind of artwork. Last spring, he showed a letter to The Washington Post that came from the candidate.   "Dear Shepard," the letter reads. "I would like to thank you for using your talent in support of my campaign. The political messages involved in your work have encouraged Americans to believe they can help change the status quo. Your images have a profound effect on people, whether seen in a gallery or on a stop sign."   At first, Obama's team just encouraged him to make an image, Fairey has said. But soon after he created it, a worker involved in the campaign asked if Fairey could make an image from a photo to which the campaign had rights.   "I donated an image to them, which they used. It was the one that said "Change" underneath it. And then later on I did another one that said "Vote" underneath it, that had Obama smiling," he said in a December 2008 interview with an underground photography Web site.       Associated Press writer Philip Elliott in Washington contributed to this report. February, 2009  
Wednesday, 04 February 2009
  Dear HonestReporting Subscriber   Israel's Operation "Cast Lead" dominated the newspapers, airwaves and internet for its duration, with the aftermath still generating headlines and opinion. It is extremely important to expose those cases where the story became agenda-driven or when the media simply got it wrong. This has been graphically illustrated by an about-turn by the UN.   One of the most serious and damaging episodes for Israel during the Gaza conflict centered around charges, amplified by UN spokespeople, that Israel had deliberately targeted a UN school compound, killing 43 civilians sheltering there.   HonestReporting highlighted the Canadian Globe and Mail's investigation that concluded that the school itself was not shelled.   Following the publicity generated by the Globe and Mail report, the UN has been forced to admit that its initial claims were false. According to Ha'aretz:   It seems that the UN has been under pressure to put the record straight after doubts arose that the school had actually been targeted. Maxwell Gaylord, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Jerusalem, said Monday that the IDF mortar shells fell in the street near the compound, and not on the compound itself. Gaylord said that the UN "would like to clarify that the shelling and all of the fatalities took place outside and not inside the school."   As commentator Andrew Bolt writes in response:   But it seems the real story is that 43 people, including at least two Hamas militants, were killed when Israel returned fire from Hamas mortars launched from among a crowd in the street. You might still not like what occurred. But it is very, very different to what was so widely alleged, and far more forgivable. And after the earlier evidence of the media repeating pro-Hamas propaganda and gross exaggerations of the death toll in Gaza, especially among civilians, we need to ask again: how much can we trust the coverage of journalists and welfare groups reporting from territory run by terrorists?       Mads Gilbert: Propaganda Doctor   Portrayed as the epitome of courage under fire, Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert appeared on television screens around the world and in the pages of many newspapers, including the BBC, CBS, CNN, ABC, AFP, Independent, Sky News, and New York Times.   Working at Gaza's Shifa Hospital, Gilbert tells news organizations of the "horrors" inflicted by Israel, including unproven accusations that "Gaza is now being used as a test laboratory for new weapons."   But was Gilbert a neutral and objective observer? What the media didn't tell you was his involvement in solidarity work with Palestinians since the 1970s and his membership of the hard-left Norwegian communist party Rød Valgallianse, which disbanded in 2007. He has criticized international aid organization Doctors Without Borders for refusing to take sides in conflicts. Dr Gilbert is employed by NORWAC, whose partner organisations include Hezbollah's Martyr Foundation.   Asked by the Norwegian daily, Dagbladet, if he supported the 9/11 attacks, he said: "Terror is a bad weapon but the answer is yes."         More Unreliable Source   Gilbert wasn't the only less than objective source being used by the media. As Melanie Phillips wrote:   the [Daily] Telegraph carried this story on its foreign news pages by Ewa Jasiewicz, reporting from Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza. It was exclusively about the suffering of civilians and children under bombardment by Israeli air strikes. It made no reference to any Hamas terrorists in the camp. Readers were given no indication that Ewa Jasiewicz was anything other than an objective reporter.   Yet the very next day, she appeared again in the Telegraph's foreign news pages -- but this time being interviewed by Tim Butcher as an 'activist originally from Kingston, Surrey' and the principal source of his story about two children being killed by a bomb from an Israeli warplane, an event which she claimed to have witnessed.   Indeed, Ms Jasiewicz is not a regular reporter at all. She is a highly partisan, deeply committed, experienced anti-Israeli International Solidarity Movement activist. She is an active player on the side of the Palestinians who are committing acts of terror against the Israelis -- which she would describe as legitimate and justified 'resistance'. Nor was this something she had hidden. Indeed, the web is heaving with examples of her hatred of Israel. Here she is in the Guardian spraying around claims that Israel was racist, that its democracy was a myth and that it deliberately targeted Palestinian civilians and activists for slaughter. Here is the statement she made after she was detained at Ben Gurion airport on 31 August 2004 by the Israeli authorities and told that she could not speak to the media, in which she justified Palestinian terrorism as   a liberation struggle – and a struggle of an occupied people that is thus justified under international law.   Read Melanie's full post here.         CNN'S STAGED VIDEO   Mads Gilbert also appeared in a CNN report, whose authenticity a number of bloggers questioned. Was the CPR being performed on a child staged for the cameras? Little Green Footballs and other blogs thought so with one LGF reader commenting: I'm no military expert, but I am a doctor, and this video is bullsh-t. The chest compressions that were being performed at the beginning of this video were absolutely, positively fake. The large man in the white coat was NOT performing CPR on that child. He was just sort of tapping on the child's sternum a little bit with his fingers. You can't make blood flow like that. Furthermore, there’s no point in doing chest compressions if you're not also ventilating the patient somehow. In this video, I can't tell for sure if the patient has an endotracheal tube in place, but you can see that there is nobody bag-ventilating him (a bag is actually hanging by the head of the bed), and there is no ventilator attached to the patient. In a hospital, during a code on a ventilated patient, somebody would probably be bagging the patient during the chest compressions. And they also would have moved the bed away from the wall, so that somebody could get back there to intubate the patient and/or bag him. In short, the "resuscitation scene" at the beginning is fake, and it's a pretty lame fake at that.   Such was the concern at CNN that the video was removed (although it currently exists on the archive).         France 2 Apologizes for Using Old Footage   France's public broadcaster, the station that produced the original Mohammed al-Dura footage, was forced to apologize to viewers after it mistakenly used amateur footage shot in 2005 to illustrate a report on the current Gaza conflict.   France 2 television broadcast part of an amateur video presented in a voiceover commentary as showing the fallout from an Israeli air strike on a civilian area in Gaza on January 1. Dating from September 2005, the video, which has been widely circulated on the Internet, actually shows civilians wounded in the accidental explosion of a pick-up truck loaded with Hamas rockets at a rally in Jabaliya refugee camp. Alerted by the French website, France 2 admitted its mistake and made a formal apology to viewers in its midday news broadcast.   "It is an error on our behalf. There was an internal malfunction in the checking of information," a France 2 executive told AFP. France 2's head of news reporting, Etienne Leenhardt, told that the sequence was "intended to illustrate the war of images on the Internet. The people who put it together worked too fast".       Australian Paper Apologizes for Anti-Semitic OP-ED   Melbourne's daily paper, The Age, has apologized for publishing Michael Backman's commentary (subsequently removed from both his and The Age's websites), "Israel living high on US expense account. No apology online, but Caroline Overington quotes from the print edition: A column by Michael Backman headlined "Israel living high on US expense account" was published in error. The Age does not in any way endorse the views of the columnist, apologises for the distress the column caused to many readers, particularly in the Jewish community and regrets publication of the column.   The column included some outrageous statements:   But Israel's utter inability to transform the Palestinians from enemies into friends has imposed big costs on us all. We have paid for Israel's failure with bombs on London public transport, bombs in bars in Bali, and even the loss of the World Trade Centre towers in New York.   It is not true that these outrages have occurred because certain Islamic fundamentalists don't like Western lifestyles and so plant bombs in response. Rather, it is Israel - or more correctly the treatment of the Palestinians - that is at the nub of these events....   Trekking in Nepal is fashionable among young Israelis.... But once you get on the trekking circuit and speak with local Nepalese guides and guesthouse operators you soon discover how disliked the Israelis are.... Rather, they say that the young Israelis are rude, arrogant, and argue over trifling amounts of money even though they clearly have means.         Hamas OP-EDS: Giving a Voice to Terrorist   We've previously questioned the morality and legality of giving the oxygen of op-ed space to terrorist organizations, as Hamas leaders have appeared on the pages of, amongst others, the New York Times, Washington Post and LA Times.   This trend was repeated during the Gaza conflict as Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal was given a voice by The Guardian (republished in Australia's The Age). Presumably in an effort to portray "balance", both papers also published a piece at the same time by Israeli MK Shai Hermesh, thus creating a false moral equivalence between the Israeli politician and the Hamas terror leader.   Meanwhile, Hamas's Mousa Abu Marzouk appeared in the LA Times while Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh got his opportunity in The Independent, which bizarrely decided to give a posthumous platform to Yasser Arafat, reprinting the PLO leader's November 1974 speech to the UN.         Lauding a Dead Terrorist Prominent Hamas terror leader Nizar Rayyan, killed by Israel on 1 January, would have enjoyed reading his own glowing obituary in The Guardian, which categorized him as a "political leader" and described him as "a man of the street... He was famed for fighting alongside his men and being seen with them publicly. And he was not merely a fighter. He was highly regarded as an Islamic academic."   Given less prominence in his obituary - how Rayyan was responsible for a series of suicide bombings and attacks inside the Green Line, including the suicide bombing in Ashdod Port in 2004 in which 10 Israelis died. In a shocking illustration of his evil nature, Rayyan even sent one of his sons to carry out a suicide attack in Gush Katif's Elei Sinai in 2001. Two Israelis were killed.         Hate Speech on BBC Arabic TV   Dr Kamal El-Helbawy, the founder of the Muslim Association of Britain, appeared to justify the targeting of Israeli children. Telling a discussion program that, while he condemned the killing of civilians, he believed all Israeli children were "future soldiers". He said: "A child born in Israel is raised on the belief that the Arabs are like contemptible sheep.   "In elementary school they pose the following math problem - 'In your village, there are 100 Arabs. If you killed 40, how many Arabs would be left for you to kill?'. This is taught in the Israeli curriculum."   The BBC, referring to the school libel, admitted an error had been made.         Abusing the Holocaust   Comparing Israel to the Nazis or attempting to draw false parallels with the deliberate genocide of 6 million Jews during the Holocaust is a tactic regularly deployed by anti-Israel activists despite being classified as anti-Semitism under the EU's own working definition.   Nonetheless, many supposedly mainstream media and commentators saw no problem with resorting to Holocaust imagery to make a point. The Independent's Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, for example, asked: "How many Palestinian Anne Franks did the Israelis murder, maim or turn mad?" while Time Magazine's front cover of a Star of David behind a wall and barbed wire, made it impossible to ignore the parallel between Israel's actions in Gaza and the Nazi Holocaust - a false association employed by those who seek to delegitimize Israel.   Toronto Sun columnist Eric Margolis wrote on his personal website: "It now seems clear the last disastrous act of the Bush administration was giving Israel a green light to launch itsfinal solution campaign against the Hamas government in Gaza." This prompted a protest from HonestReporting Canada who called for the Sun to reconsider keeping Margolis on as a columnist.   As the fog of war recedes and the clearer picture begins to emerge, HonestReporting, with your help, will continue to expose cases of anti-Israel media bias to set the record straight.    
Tuesday, 03 February 2009
Author:Pedro Meyer
    The crisis is global. And it’s not only economic.   We talk about the many ills that afflict all countries, where the economic dimension is a very important one, but it’s by no means the only one. It would seem that the crisis is going to last for quite a while.   As a friend, Rubén Aguilar, put it, “Not all of us can act on the causes, but all of us are in a position to act on the effects.”   In the world of photography, all of us have many opportunities to do our part in the context of this crisis.   In Mexico, one of the most dynamic and active cities in contemporary photography is none other than Tijuana, one of the cities most severely struck by the mafias of organized crime in Mexico.   I recall that not long ago at a photography symposium, the work that was presented that impressed me the most came from Colombia, a nation equally ravaged by wars against drug dealers.   Wars have been a rich source of creativity throughout history. We have seen magnificent photographic essays that have reached us from Kosovo and Sarajevo. And what about all the artists and intellectuals who devoted themselves to the task of expressing their visions and feelings in the most extraordinary way during World War II? The Holocaust also left its trail of creative work, despite all the destruction surrounding it.   The social struggles that have been unleashed in Asia have also bore witness to how photography has been able to contribute to the raising of awareness in the societies portrayed. The same may be said about what has taken place in Africa.   The most interesting Cuban works dated to an era when they didn’t even have paper for printing. I can still remember when we invited Cuban photographers to participate in the First Latin America Photography Colloquium; we had to send them two boxes of photo paper. The material was distributed at night (so the paper wouldn’t get exposed) with incredible rationing: one sheet for each photo that was going to be sent to the Colloquium.   For some reason, which I personally can only observe, even though I can’t explain it, there is a direct correlation between human beings trapped in enormous hardship and uncommon creative expression.   Not everything has to be documentary or journalistic photography. Remember how a visual work of art, like Picasso’s Guernica, also arose at a time of crisis. We should also not forget that Goya’s Disasters of War have been so emblematic that they have also inspired photographers.   This is an extremely important moment in the history of humanity, in which we have to make a collective effort to take advantage of the situation. Each one of us, from our respective trenches, with our own moral and aesthetic values, must find a way to express ourselves against or in favor of something, but making our presence felt in our comments and not letting life and its problems pass us by.   Pedro Meyer February 2009 Mexico City, Coyoacán    
Monday, 02 February 2009
  Just like every other website, ZoneZero is fed by a server. We must keep up with the pace of the advancements in technology, so all the users of and now and, can have easy access to all of our information and images at an increasingly greater speed.   Since we get our feedback from you, we want to share with all the ZoneZero community, the visual history of our server.                       Evolving                 
Tuesday, 06 January 2009
Author:Little Green Footballs
  We should not forget that every television image and every news photograph coming out of Gaza right now is filtered through Hamas. The photographers filing pictures for Reuters, Associated Press, and Agence France Presse are all Palestinians, and all propagandists for Hamas—or they wouldn’t be allowed to take pictures in Gaza.   With that in mind, here’s yet another example of news photographs staged for propaganda purposes by terrorists and their allies: CAMERA Snapshots: Green Helmet’s Successor?   UPDATE at 1/5/09 11:06:16 am:   January 05, 2009   Green Helmet's Successor?   We all recall the Green Helmet fauxtography brought to us thanks to Reuters during the second Lebanon War. Now, as the ground operation of Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip is in full swing, meet Green Helmet's potential successor at the Shifa Hospital -- Brown Jacket.     Exhibit A       Exhibit A is a Reuters photo by Mohammed Salem from yesterday (Jan. 4), captioned:   A wounded Palestinian is brought into a hospital in Gaza January 4, 2009. Israeli sheels killed at least five Palestinian civilians and wounded 40 others when they exploded in Gaza City's main shopping area, medics and witnesses said.   Note the injured man's brown jacket, black short-cropped hair, black shirt, black jeans, lean build. Said to be injured, he appears to be dependent on the supporting medic as he is brought into the hospital.     Exhibit B   Exhibit B is also a Reuters photo by Mohammed Salem from the very same day. The Reuters caption is:   Palestinians react beside bodies in al-Shifa hospital in Gaza January 4, 2009. Israeli shells killed at least five Palestinian civilians and wounded 40 others when they exploded in Gaza City's main shopping area, medics and witnesses said.   Note the man squatting on the right. Note the brown jacket, black short-cropped hair, black shirt, black jeans, lean build. Note that there is no sign of injury and no sign of a supporting medic. What do you think? Is it the same man?   Given reports that Hamas members are hiding out in mosques and hospitals disguised as doctors and nurses, the potential for staging photographs does not surprise.   Denying allegations that Hamas members were hiding out in his hospital, the director of Shifa stated indignantly:   But to say that they're hiding here? Media teams and Red Cross representatives freely walk around here. If there were activists here, they would have photographed them by now.   Indeed, they very well may have.   ---------------------------------------------   Israellycool has another example: the same injured child being paraded around by two different men.   Here are the two images at   ---------------------------------------------   A Palestinian father carries his wounded baby daughter into a hospital in Gaza City...   Photo from Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images     4 days ago: A Palestinian father carries his wounded baby daughter into a hospital in Gaza City on January 4, 2009 as Israeli troops continue its ground assault in Gaza. The half dozen hospitals in Gaza cannot cope with more patients and casualties are overflowing out of regular wards into corridors as Israeli troops push deep into Gaza. At least 40 people have been killed since Israel launched the night-time offensive yesterday after eight days of air strikes in which at least 485 Palestinians died and more than 2,400 were wounded, Gaza medics said.                           A Palestinian carries a child into the Shifa hospital in Gaza City... Photo from AP Photo by ASHRAF AMRA   3 days ago: A Palestinian carries a child into the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, wounded during the Israeli army operation in Gaza, Sunday Jan. 4, 2009. Israeli ground troops and tanks cut swaths through the Gaza Strip Sunday, bisecting the coastal territory and surrounding its biggest city as the new phase of a devastating offensive against the Hamas group gained momentum.                                     Little Green Footballs January, 2009    
Monday, 05 January 2009
Author:Pedro Meyer
    A few days ago Nadia and I went to visit her gradfather who is 94 years old and lives with his new girlfriend, Blanca, in a retirement home for the elderly, near Mexico City. As we were leaving the home were they live with about another hundred elderly people, I came across the lovely lady in the picture sitting on a small chair across from the entrance door.   Upon seeing her I felt I was looking at something very special which I had to photograph, I took the picture without understanding my motives. I still had no clear idea, why this person who I did not even know, caught my attention so much. But after studying the image, and looking at it for a while, I discovered what my fascination was all about.   I concluded that indeed the way she looked was a song to life. On the one hand, women be they elderly or young, often like to dress in black while this woman was dressed as a rainbow that seemed to come from the palette of a painter. Where women usually flee from being photographed at the slightest wrinkle or blemish on their skin, this woman smiled to me with a great inner peace and joy, making me feel that it was quite all right for me to take a picture of her. She looked happy and the wrinkles on her face were just the outcome of a face that had seen quite a lot of life.   All her makeup while imperfect in execution, was yet another testimony that what was important was how she felt as a person rather than the tidiness of how the makeup was applied, all of this judging by how she looked at me through those blue-green eyes with such a fixed gaze.   I felt that the photograph was the perfect contradiction of everything that is desirable in society today in the manner women are depicted. From the perfect skin to the immaculate makeup, leaving on the wayside how women feel or even their own welfare. With the familiar claim that through digital means all traces of a full life can be prompty eliminated.   The problem is that at a certain stage in life, caring for all these aesthetic details, can be the difference between getting a job or not, as an actress, model or an executive, or even the votes as a politician. Or the approval of a boyfriend over the internet. The public image seems to be all that matters.   However, there is a time in life where everything changes, when we allow our wrinkles to be seen without any apparent problem or consequence. I think it is not a problem of age, but the conviction that we might have at whatever age it is, that appearances are just that, appearances.   I am sure that the irony will not escape you, that in these times where so much is discussed about the truthfulness of the photographic image, most people do not even want to see the truth, they prefer to live in a world of appearances.   Pedro Meyer January 2009 Mexico City, Coyoacán     We are grateful to Hsu Sheng-Yuan, one of our gallerists at ZoneZero, for his taking the initiative of translating our editorial into Chinese. By publishing it, he has generated many more publications, which we gladly present:      
Friday, 02 January 2009
  ZoneZero invites people from all ages and countries to send their photographs, texts and photo-compositions for exhibition with the theme: Where were you when Obama was elected president?   An incredible amount of images have been taken during the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States of America, we think it would be an interesting exercise to share photographs as well as your written experience and photocompositions on this matter.   Go to exhibition      
Tuesday, 18 November 2008

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