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Tuesday October 2, 2012

Miami Herald on 'Trayvon Inc.' – any hint of hypocrisy?

miami herald, today's cover Here’s the front-page story of today’s Herald, CASHING IN ON TRAYVON INC.

An iconic photograph of a young Trayvon Martin in his Bulldogs football uniform, staring stone-faced into the camera, has been published in print and online around the world.

The Optimist Club team photographer, Lucricia Woodside of North Miami, owns the copyright to the picture and never authorized its use. Now she is a member of a growing number of entrepreneurs, artists and even some opportunists who have found ways to cash in on a new cottage industry.

Call it Trayvon Inc.

The Trayvon case is tragic and wrong on many levels. But a photographer trying to get credit for her work? That’s the lead in the article about people exploiting the tragedy for profit? Let’s be clear about this: despite the liberties people have been taking with reuse of imagery on the internet (including this very blog!), a person with a camera owns the copyright to every picture they make.

What is the writer, Frances Robles, arguing here? That when something becomes news any photo relevant to the news becomes public domain, free to be used without the photographer’s permission?

In fact that must be the argument. Because that’s what these newspapers and websites did: used a photo without asking for permission of the copyright holder. (From a legal perspective, the fact that the photographer registered the copyright is irrelevant to the story.)

Check out the Herald’s own terms of service

Material published on, including articles, photos, Content Feeds, graphics, bulletin board postings, audio and video clips, trademarks, service marks, and other content (“Content”), is copyrighted by The Miami Herald … You may not reproduce, republish or redistribute Content or any portions thereof, including, without limitation, Content provided by licensors and others, including member-submitted content, without the written consent of the copyright owner.

What do you think would happen if something in Miami became a national news story, and a photo from the Herald started popping up in newspapers and websites? That’s right, they’d get their lawyers on it. It’s wrong because the person doing it is a journeyman photographer? Look: part of the deal with being a photographer is that you might be in the right place at the right time and get a photo that becomes valuable. Trust me: professional photographers have it tough these days. They deserve whatever break they can get.

And they certainly don’t deserve to be made to look like profiteering lowlives by a major national newspaper. This poor woman is going to be getting hatemail and threats from ignorant jerks who read this stupid article and don’t think this through.

The Herald’s got a catchy headline, but it’s completely unfair. Cashing in on Trayvon Inc., eh? Say, I notice that this article is on your front page. Could it be that you’re profiting as much as anyone else from this? Where’s the intellectual honesty?


Monday July 16, 2012

Found at Out of the Closet, part 1


Out of the Closet is a fairly awesome thrift store near my house. (Contrast with Bargain Barn, re. which a story at the end of this post if I remember.) They’re way smaller than typical thrift stores but they always have great stuff, particularly in the way of furniture. Their book selection, too, is better than at a typical thrift. I don’t know if their donations are just of better quality, if there’s better curation going on, or if it’s some combination of the two. But while browsing through the other day, here’s what I found.

See the article and 5 photos


Thursday July 5, 2012

The camera solution

Last week, Marco described more or less the exact problem I’ve been having: we both have an amazing camera. In fact, we have the same one: the Canon 5D Mark II. But we’ve both found ourselves using an iPhone as our primary camera. The reason is simple: modern iPhones have very good cameras build in, and the 5D is a beast to carry around all the time. Marco has been going back and looking carefully at his photos, and realizes that, “photos from the iPhone 4, and even from the 4S, don’t hold up. They look fine on a 3.5-inch screen, but they look terrible on my big desktop monitor.”

I’ve got an additional problem now: a blog that benefits from me having a decent camera with me all the time. The iPhone camera works fine for certain kinds of blogging (I took the downtown school board banner photo with it), but it just doesn’t have the same level of detail, is useless in low light or backlight, and is pretty much impossible to crop and end up with something usable. I actually went back to Pinecrest Gardens with my 5D for this post.

Marco’s solution is to make a concerted effort to use the 5D more. That may work for him, but I’ve made that effort plenty of times, and it just doesn’t work. It’s really heavy for something that you carry around in addition to everything else. Pancake lens or not, it’s too big to fit into the medium-sized bag I carry most of the time. Too, it’s hard to shoot with in places where people are iffy about cameras, not only because of the size but because of the prominent shutter sound. No way you’re sneaking it into a concert. (I actually have a pocket camera that I’ve used for this. It is small enough to carry around all the time, but it makes photos that are on par with the iPhone. The only advantage it has is a wide-angle zoom.)

So what’s the solution? A new camera of course. Something that’s small enough to carry around all the time, big enough to demand to be used over the iPhone, and that’ll take top-notch photos. I give you the Fujifilm X100. It’s got a large sensor, a non-zoom lens, 12 megapixels, and it’s bigger than a pack of cigarettes but smaller than a sandwich. Depending on your monitor, this picture may be about actual size (it’s just under 5 inches wide). At almost two years old it’s a bit long in the tooth and in danger of being replaced with something better in a few months. But I got a good deal on it. We’ll see how it goes. With any luck it’ll be small enough to wear around the neck or in a bag almost all the time, easy to sneak into places, able to be operated without the screen being on, silent, and take amazing photos. Hopefully I’ll be able to get into the habit of carrying it everywhere and using it instead of reaching for the phone. Stay tuned.


Wednesday June 20, 2012

Photographing the Herald: answers revealed!

Miami Herald no protography private property zone

Last week I had a run-in with Herald security guards in which I was told that photography of the Herald building from the sidewalk is not allowed. Well, Bill over at Random Pixels called up the Herald and got some answers. It turns out that the Herald does indeed own the sidewalk and the street in front of their building. I’ve marked in blue their private property in the picture above. They do, in fact, have the right to not allow protography, to ask anyone to leave, or do anything else you could do to someone standing in your driveway. (Well, technically they sold the building last year and are now just leasing it temporarily, but that’s not really relevant to the issue.)

As far as I’m concerned, that settles the matter. It’s their property and they can do whatever they want, including not allowing photography. Do I think this is a dumb rule? Yes, I do; there are dumb rules all over the place, so has it ever been. Do I think the Herald should post “No Photography” signs or “Private Property” signs? No, I think that’d be ugly and even dumber. Do I regret being a jerk to the security guards at the Herald? No. I was a jerk to the guy who was a jerk to me first. He very clearly said that photography was “not allowed” and didn’t say shit about the sidewalk and street being private property. I was perfectly polite to the second security guard, who came closer to explaining the situation correctly but still only made vague reference to “the Herald’s area” (although he knew it also included the street). I do think the security guards could be better informed about why they’re enforcing the rules, but I also understand the point that they’ve got a lot of other things to worry about, and I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I’m cool with the Herald again, and I wish them well in their move to Doral or wherever, where presumably they won’t have to worry so much about pesky people with iPhones photographing their building.

Previously: Photography of the Miami Herald building is “not allowed”? / Update/Correction.


Sunday June 17, 2012

Correction: In the Photography of the Miami Herald building is “not allowed”? post, I got the link to Carlos Miller’s blog wrong. The story of the other link is here. Apologies to Carlos, and bigups to sloppy blogging!

Update: And here is Carlos’ post about my post and the incident. Carlos contacted a couple of Herald reporters, and it sounds like they were disturbingly nonchalant about the whole thing. Some people have stuck up for the security guards in this situation, and I absolutely agree that the problem is with head of security or whoever set the policy, and the managers of the paper who allow it to continue. Total bullshit, and yes, we should go down there with cameras. Name the day.

Update: Facebook discussion.


Thursday June 14, 2012

Photography of the Miami Herald building is "not allowed"?

miami herald

Wow, wait till you hear this one. So I’m out for an early morning bike ride, and snapping a few photos, and I end up in front of the Miami Herald building for this one. Out the garage comes a guy in a Volkswagen Beetle (with a white “Un-Beetle” decal, so, you know, clearly a douche) comes out and tells me “no photography.” I laugh him off, but he’s quite serious. “I’not allowed to stand here and take pictures?!” says I. “No, you’re not.” says him, now puling a badge out and waving it at me, without identifying himself as any particular law enforcement. “What’re you going to do, call the cops?” say I. “Yeah, I will!” says him. “So call them,” says I. “Just don’t take any photos!” says he and pulls away.

So I circle around and talk to another security guard, who is very nice about it and somewhat equivocal, but he says yeah, photography of the building is not allowed. “But it’s a public street” say I. “Well, they consider this Miami Herald area” says him, pointing at the street with a completely straight face. “If you want to go across the street, that’s something else…” He also says something about how it’s because it’s a landmark(!) and that they’d like me to get a permit if I’m going to be photographing. I mentioned something about how I’d like for them to cut me a check for a half a million dollars, and I guess at that point he realized he had a wise ass on his hands and said something about just being cool about it.

So, first of all, what a sorry pair of backing-down-ass security guards, right? But more to the point (and I actually wonder whether this needs to be said) how fucking ironic is it that in this era when photographer’s effective rights are being chipped away, and the job of news photographers like Carlos Miller* to do their jobs is getting harder and harder (to speak nothing of our civil liberties), the Miami Herald is contributing to this extra-legal “no photography rule” nonsense. Do the reporters and editors know about this “rule”? How far are the security guards actually trained to go in enforcing it? (And do they have clear boundaries?) And when will the idea get into the popular consciousness that “rules” happen on private property and on public property the only “rules” are laws, and it’s very poor policy to have your security people confuse the two and try to represent one thing as another?

* I originally got the link to Carlos’ blog wrong. The original link went to a … I’m not sure what the fuck it is, actually. The story is here. Thanks to Carlos for the correction.


Wednesday May 21, 2008

Manola gets hassled and bullied at the Raleigh hotel. Idiots.


Tuesday January 8, 2008

You people had better watch out: Hugo has a blog.


Monday October 23, 2006

Biscayne construction

Construction along Biscayne Blvd., taken with my dangerous new camera. Location.


Sunday October 22, 2006

Enchanting Taiwan

farmfields in Taiwan

Enchanting Taiwan, a collection of photographs from the island, is currently on view at Coral Gables city hall, and will stay up through the 28th. The images are “photo contest” winners, not art per se, although obviously some of them are breathtaking. The show is free and open to the public weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm, and there will be a reception Monday evening (tomorrow).


Wednesday October 18, 2006

downtown at night

A beautiful photo of downtown at night by Jonathan. I have no idea where he took this from.


Thursday August 31, 2006

Pictures of a dud storm


Well, I finally made up with flickr (and ponied up my $25), and just in time to upload a few pictures from the last three days: before and after Tropical Storm Ernesto, a big fat dud, and the very thing we shall point to to explain why people didn’t bother getting properly ready for the next one, which might take us all out. Enjoy; regular bloggigng resumes next week (or not).


Saturday August 5, 2006

Snap Judgements at Miami Art Central

A scene of rooftops taken from an even higher rooftop. Rubble on one roof, people sitting at a table on another.
Randa Shaath, Untitled, from the series Rooftops of Cairo, 2002-3, Twelve gelatin silver prints, Courtesy of the artist [and crudely rephotographed by me in the gallery, hence the crappy quality]

Three men and a boy hang out in a room with newspaper headline posters covering the wall behind them. 'FURY OVER HIJAK HOAX.' 'MOB JUSTICE SPREADS.' 'DO WOMEN NEED OWN VIAGRA?' 'CHIEFS IN THE DARK AS STAR VANISHED.'
Guy Tillim, Ntokozo and His Brother Vusi Tshabalala at Ntokozo’s Place, Milton Court, Pritchard Street, Johannesburg, 2004, Courtesy the artist and Michael Stevenson Gallery, International Center of Photography, New York

Colorful costumes, celebration in the woods.
Theo Eshetu, Trip to Mount Ziqualla, Ethiopia, 2005, Courtesy the artist

You want to make a snap judgement? Enter Miami Art Central’s gallery. You’ll be faced with several huge, drastically out-of-focus pictures of uniforms. You won’t be tempted to go in for a closer look (large out of focus photos tend not to reward close looking), and you might temporarily question the wisdom of your decision to come. As it turns out, the show, despite making this oddly poor first impression, is full of amazing work. And MAC [flash!] has a habit of saving its best stuff for upstairs.

But let me pick on them a little more. From the brochure: “the recognition of African photographers and their unique visual language has come about only recently.” I’ll have to take curator Okwui Enwezor word for it, because the show certainly doesn’t exhibit anything like a particular “unique visual language.” Many of the individual photographers have a UVL, to be sure, but I perceive no more of a hint of common sensibility in this show then in, say, Aura of the Photograph: The Image as Object recently at the Harn. That show presented photography from around the world, and from the entire history of the medium.

Of course this is a good thing; any exhibition claiming to give even the most cursory look at the photographic work of a continent of 840 million people and 20 percent of the world’s land area had better be pretty freaking diverse, and Snap Judgements is. The show has its share of uninspiring pictures, but it’s full enough (too full maybe; pictures are packed tightly, double-hung in places) to include dozens of pictures that are, in turn, beautiful, alarming, tender, and haunting. Just go already.

Miami Art Central
5960 SW 57th Avenue
Miami, Florida 33143
Free Sundays, $5 other days


Thursday July 27, 2006

el nuevo herald page

This is a photo that ran in El Nuevo Herald on June 25th. It shows a couple of police officers in the capitol of Cuba, indifferent to four prostitutes, and it’s a photoshop job. It sounds to me like the shit hit the fan at El Nuevo when the New Times started calling and they realized what’d really happened. On the other hand, even in this crappy reproduction the edit is obvious. Maybe this goes on all the time?


Saturday July 1, 2006

Simon Hare

star island from the air

Simon Hare has pictures of South Florida that are so eye-popping that it’s worth dealing with the wretched flash interface they’re imprisoned in. Stick with the “landscape and architecture” section on his site: this boy knows how to shoot water. And yes, I know he’s photoshopping the snot out of them. (via Fanless)


Thursday May 18, 2006

wynwood by dig

This picture is from this post at Dig. Dig is the more graphically-oriented partner-blog to tNFH. He takes these great nighttime, low-angled, slightly cattywhompus pictures of streets and buildings, often focused on an empty middleground. For the full effect, click the images on the blog and say “view image.”


Wednesday March 29, 2006

John Szarkowski at the Margulies Warehouse

John Szarkowski (this photo is probably about 40 years old) will be speaking at the Margulies Warehouse this Thursday at 7 pm.

Szarkowski, who was Director of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art from 1962 to 1991, was instrumental in the medium’s acceptance as a valid vehicle for art. His books, including Looking at Photographs, argue vigorously and eloquently for the aesthetic value of excellent photographs. This is not to be missed.

The Margulies Warehouse, the private collection of Marting Z. Margulies, includes one of the most respected collection of photographs in the world (though the collection also includes video and sculpture), including many photographs by the early masters, and some stunning contemporary work. The collection is huge and dazzling. While it may not make sense to compare it with traditional cultural establishments such as the Miami Art Museum, it may also be the one must-see stop for an art lover visiting Miami.

The collection will be open for viewing from 6 pm on Thursday; see their website for regular hours and directions.