Monday, November 16, 2009

Eggs, Meet Basket

Can you say "eggs all in one basket." The Digital Journalist sure can.

The fine photojournalism publication is finding out first hand that putting all your eggs in one basket is never a good thing. The publication say that it's December issue may be its last. That's because its major sponsor, Canon, is shutting off the spigot.

According to editor and publisher, Dirk Halstead:

"Unfortunately, our principal sponsor, Canon, whose market has also been impacted by these turbulent times, has decided they can no longer afford to provide their financial backing to The Digital Journalist."
In an effort to make up for the lost funding, the publication is seeking donations from subscribers -- I'm sure donations from non subscribers will not be turned down. It has even set up a PayPal link for said donations.

The publication, according to Halstead, has been online for 12 years. That's an eternity in Internet time. And it's an excellent publication. If you're into photojournalism -- or just good photography -- you should check it out.

"If you value The Digital Journalist, this is the time to step up and make a pledge. If enough people do, we may be able to keep The Digital Journalist -- and visual journalism -- alive. Consider it as an investment in yourself, and the future," Halstead says.

I don't know Halstead and have nothing against him personally. I've read The Digital Journalist and it's an excellent publication. But I find myself of two minds on this issue.

On the one hand, I feel for the guy. Running a business is tough. And when the money stops coming in, it gets even tougher. Whenever a good photography publication is threatened or goes under, it's never a good thing.

On the other hand, I can't help thinking "Who's fault is it pal? What do you expect with only one sponsor?"

Having only one major sponsor is a tenuous prospect at best. Even if that sponsor is a giant like Canon. Halstead had to have known they could have pulled the plug at any time.

To be fair, I'm sure The Digital Journalist tried hard to attract other major sponsors. But for whatever reason, their sugar daddy came in the form of Canon and no one else.

As for Canon, it couldn't be costing them a whole lot of money to sponsor a publication with about 10,000 subscribers. Would it kill them to bite the bullet and continue sending out the checks? They probably waste more money on paper clips than they spend on The Digital Journalist. It just doesn't seem fair.

So, by all means, help out a fellow photographer and donate to the publication and help keep it alive. If it lives past the December issue, you can subscribe.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Oswald Photo Genuine?

A computer scientist at Dartmouth College says the iconic photograph of alleged John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald is genuine, and not a composite as has been thought for years.

The photograph, of Oswald holding a rifle and Communist newspapers in the backyard, would have been nearly impossible to fake, according to Professor Hany Farid, director of the Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth.

The biggest bone of contention about the photograph has been the shadows. Many people claimed the shadow under Oswald's nose and the long shadow falling behind him point to two distinct light sources. The conclusion has been that the head was taken from one photo and composited onto the body of another.

Using forensic modeling software, Professor Farid says he's convinced both shadows were created by a single light source and that the photo is genuine.

According to Farid:
"You can never really prove an image is real, but the evidence that people have pointed to that the photo is fake is incorrect," Farid said. "As an academic and a scientist, I don't like to say it's absolutely authentic ... but it's extremely unlikely to have been a fake."
Oswald himself claimed the photo was a fake.

Dartmouth has posted an interesting video of Professor Farid explaining his findings.