Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Is Nothing Sacred?

According to photographer Michael Yon not only is nothing sacred, but the use of this photo is copyright infringement. He notes on his web site that the debut issue of Shock magazine features a photo he took in Iraq of a U.S. soldier cradling a dead Iraqi child on its cover without his permission.

According to Yon:

I first became aware of the infringement when stunned and angry readers contacted me under the mistaken belief that I allowed Shock magazine to use it on their cover. I did not, and never would have agreed to their usage. I regularly turn down usage requests for this photo–uses that could earn money–because this photo is sacred to me and is representative of the U.S. soldiers I have come to know. It is also representative of the horrors of the enemy we all face.

Yon notes that he has advised his attorneys of the matter and that they will ask that all issue featuring the photograph be removed from circulation and the Internet.

UPDATE June 1: According to Yon's lawyer, discussions with the magazine's publisher "are going nowhere," so he plans to sue for copyright infringement.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Canon is Latest Camera Maker to Dump Film Cameras from Lineup

The latest camera manufacturer to join the growing list that includes Nikon, Bronica, Konica Minolta and others, Canon Inc. said yesterday that it would stop developing film cameras.

The company noted that film cameras are quickly being relegated to an "enthusiast" niche and are no longer profitable.

According to an AP story, Canon executives said they would continue developing the film cameras that currently are in production, as long as there is a demand for them.

Meanwhile, Tsuneji Uchida, president of Canon, told reporters that demand for film cameras will be limited to "special needs" like camera buffs, Kyodo News agency said.

"It won't pay off as a business even if we would make a new development" on a film camera, Kyodo quoted Uchida as saying.

For a good look at the history of Canon Cameras, check out the Canon Camera Museum.

Japanese camera manufacturers sold nearly 65 million digital cameras last year and slightly more than 5 million film cameras. Digital cameras may outsell film cameras by more than 10-to-1, but it's pretty sad when a sales of more than 5 million units cannot sustain an industry.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

30 Seconds With the President

Ever wondered what the life of a White House Press Photographer is like? Seems glamorous doesn't it?

Well, if you want to get a glimpse of what it's like to have a photo op with President George W. Bush, in real time, check out this audio slideshow by the Chicago Tribune's Pete Souza.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Kodak to Raise Paper and Chemical Prices

Hard on the heels of a similar announcement by Fuji Photo Film Co. last week, Eastman Kodak Co. said it too will raise its prices on silver-halide based photographic paper and darkroom chemicals. The price hikes, expected to be between 4% and 10%, will affect both professional and consumer products and will take effect in July.

Kodak blamed the impending price increases on the inflated costs of raw materials:

Over the past several years, Kodak has been absorbing unrelenting increases in the costs of raw materials used to manufacture photographic paper and chemistry, including pulp, silver and petrochemicals. Other costs tied to the escalating price of energy–including transportation and packaging–also have increased. These pressures have reached the point where they can no longer be offset by Kodak's ongoing productivity programs.

What Kodak didn't say, however, was that the increasing acceptance of digital photography and its decreasing sales of traditional film, paper and chemicals has necessitated this increase. You can read Kodak's press release here.

I'm Ready for My Close-Up Mr. DeMille

There seems to be a disturbing trend brewing among magazines to use extreme close-up portraits on the cover. These extreme shots are often post-processed, making the subject look scary, evil or maniacal (pick one).

Politicians seem to be popular subjects for this kind of treatment. Recent cover subjects include former Vice President Al Gore (who appears to be a favorite).

I can understand the urge to be creative, but these portraits are less than flattering to the subject. While that's probably the point with most of these shots, it's a disturbing trend nonetheless.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Mamiya Lives!

The death of Mamiya (to paraphrase the old saying) has been greatly exaggerated.

According to a press release issued by Mamiya Optical Company in Japan, the new company Mamiya Digital Imaging (which is the old Mamiya Camera & Optical Division and has been sold to Cosmo Digital Imaging) plans to continue developing, marketing and selling its existing cameras, lenses and digital backs. It also plans to have new products at Photokina in September.

Here's what the company had to say about its plans:

Mr. Tsutsumi, President of Cosmo Digital Imaging, the company acquiring the Mamiya Camera & Optical Division, stated "We will concentrate our efforts on expanding development of the Mamiya ZD Digital Camera, the Mamiya Digital Back, and the continuation of the current series of Mamiya cameras and lenses."

Mr. Tsutsumi went on to say that Mamiya Digital will concentrate on producing products for professional photographers. The way I read it is the company will continue developing the Mamiya ZD, its digital backs and a film camera in the lineup (maybe the 645 AFD?).

It seems I jumped the gun when I wrote about Mamiya getting out of the camera business in April. See Et Tu Mamiya?.

The Price of Doing Business in the Digital Age

You knew it was going to happen sooner or later (at least you should have suspected it if nothing else). The Fuji Photo Film Co. Ltd. said it plans to raise the price of its photosensitive materials (read its FujiFilm and photographic paper) between 3% and 20% effective June.

The company blamed digital photography (natch) and the rising costs of raw materials like silver for the price hikes.

You can read their short press release here.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Apparently Film is Not Dead Yet

It's nice to know that the Eastman Kodak Company is still conducting R&D into silver halide films.

At the recent International Congress of Imaging Science, Kodak presented a paper entitled "A High-Speed, Direct Positive Photothermographic System." You can read the abstract here.

Basically what the paper says is that Kodak is doing research into a silver halide film that the company says can have an ISO of up to 24,000. You read that right. Kodak is looking into developing a film with an ISO of 24,000! How's that for a low-light film?

There's no word if Kodak will actually develop this film, if it ever will be commercially available or if we'll ever see a version for 35mm, medium and large format cameras.

I suspect Kodak is thinking about this film for astrophotography applications or possibly surveillance, not consumer applications. It probably is being looked at as a scientific film. But it would be nice to see Kodak developing new films – and some unconventional ones at that.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

On the Cover of the Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone, in celebration of its 1,000th issue, has a nice feature with photographers Annie Leibovitz and Mark Seliger – who between them have shot 266 covers for the magazine. The piece shows a number of the cover shots by each photographer and offers some insights into how the shoots came about. There also is an audio version available.

It's an interesting look into what goes into a Rolling Stone cover shoot.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Stunning Nikon?

If you're into skinny British supermodels and slim digital point-and-shoot cameras, then you'll love Nikon's new campaign for its upcoming Coolpix S6 camera featuring Kate Moss.

Let's just say Moss adds a bit of sex appeal to the camera (as if it really needs it).

Check out the commercial: .

Nikon also has produced a web site teasing (in more ways than one) the new S6 called Stunning Nikon.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Book 'Em Dano

Interested in photography? Interested in books? Interested in photography books? Well, then have I got a blog for you.

I just ran across this new blog about photography books that looks interesting. Its called Photobook Guide and describes itself like this:

Photobookguide.com aims to show the history of photography reflected through the photo book. The web gives the world a new and easy way for anyone to publish their photos. But before the web, photographers immersed themselves in mass media by way of the photo book. PhotobookGuide.com celebrates that long, rich history by presenting a web survey of landmark photo books.

The blog is new so there isn't a whole lot of content yet. But it's worth bookmarking and keeping an eye on.