Tender Souls – Another Side of San Francisco

The Tenderloin’s reputation goes before it: supposedly the most dangerous area to visit in San Francisco, it’s a central district of about fifty square blocks, nestled beneath the much more gentrified Nob Hill at its northern boundary. Yet amidst the usual (and justified) statistical information about crime, prostitution, drug use and gang activity, the reality – like all cities – is that a district is made up of real people, of real stories that cannot be recorded simply as demographics, or forced into statistical curves.

Two photographers – Brenton Gieser and Felix Uribe – have embarked on an ongoing project Tender Souls to record some of those people living in the Tenderloin. Their subjects range from the disenfranchised through to those working with them, and the intention is to build a living record of a caring community. In their own words: A soul that not only experiences deep suffering but triumphant redemption, a soul that meets the needs of their neighbors with the little gifts they have, a deeply tender soul.

At a time when the rise of dot coms in San Francisco has been well documented in terms of forcing even tenant dwellers out of an increasingly expensive city, the plight of the Tenderloin homeless become even more attenuated and relevant; an acute outlier of a wider trend towards dispossession and marginalization.

The Tender Souls website releases a new story each month of a community member in the tenderloin; a mixture of photographic portraits, and an audio interview. Combined, they provide a riveting insight into the people that are often walked by, relegated to the margins. Some of the anecdotes are profoundly touching (Eva Hart, 72, is ex-army and speaks nine languages; but all her money is spent on trying to reopen her erroneous army records, following expenses incurred by a fight with breast cancer); all of them contain steel and dignity.

In addition to these in-depth accounts, there is also Faces: a larger archive of street portraits; single shots of great sensitivity that project multitudes from the subject. We talked to Brenton Geiser, and asked him about Tender Souls.

How does the collaboration between yourself and Felix work?

First and foremost, Felix and I are great friends. He has not only been one of – if not the – most important person in helping develop my photography, but a person I trust, respect and have an incredible amount of love for.

So our work together is built off a solid foundation of trust. Felix and I are both responsible for finding our own subjects and cultivating those relationships. We constantly chat about the new friends we have made in the neighborhood, and discuss the possibilities of working on their stories. When it comes to documenting stories, we work separately.

For example, I photographed, interviewed, and wrote the stories of Eva and Paul, he did the same for Dax. I have put more of a focus on the stories themselves, as Felix has been capturing amazing portraits around the Tenderloin; although we each contribute to both the stories and faces sections of the site.

I manage the site and write most of the copy, while Felix is a wizard in crafting compelling audio.

Mr. Holman (c)Tender Souls

Mr. Holman (c)Tender Souls

With so many potential subjects, how do you choose?

Deciding on who to photograph and document is always a challenge. Of course, working with a subject is a two-way street; people need to be brought into the vision; they need to trust us; they need to be courageous enough to tell us their unadulterated story.

With that being said, I think that most people will be surprised about how many people in the Tenderloin are ‘open books.’ Many times, the suffering and pain our subjects have endured is so immense. For some, telling their story is cathartic; for others. the acknowledgement is what moves them. Most just want to be part of something they believe may be special.

Most of the people we end up working with are people we either meet organically, on the streets while walking around with our cameras; or have been introduced to us by a community member or an organization we have ties to. Both Felix and I really try to be conscious of the rich diversity of the TL, which means we are not aiming just to photograph our un-housed neighbors, or people with substance abuse problems, but also the community leaders, the youth, small business owners. The tapestry of this neighborhood is intricate and nuanced.

Andre (c)Tender Souls

Andre (c)Tender Souls

How long do you envisage this project lasting?

There is no end date for this project. Felix and I are Bay Area natives, and intend on being part of our regional community for as long as economically possible.

We also have a commitment to the TL community beyond Tender Souls. From the very real friendships we have cultivated with people on the streets, residents, and neighborhood workers, to the neighborhood organizations we now work with, we have plans to be here for quite a while.

How do you see the city evolving, based on what you see at ground level?

I believe the city of San Francisco is creeping up on a pivotal inflection point. At this inflection point, the social fabric of our city is either going to tear and become a microcosm of the social tension we see brewing around the globe; or we can practice compassionate, authentic, human connection across classes; allowing for not only a strong community, but more sound local policy, housing regulations, and business practices moving forward.

We believe photography is an accessible, collaborative art form, which when done right, can facilitate a better understanding of others and ourselves. We hope that Tender Souls provides a spark for a deeper inquiry into social issues that prevail in our back yard, but often go unrecognized.

Ahmed (c)Ahmed

Ahmed (c)Ahmed

The Tender Souls Project: http://www.tendersoulsproject.com

Tracking Down the Copyright Infringers

Image theft seems to grow and expand. Here, we find out what options are available for recourse and hear of success in protecting one’s copyright.

Guest Post by Julian Jackson

David Hoffman is a UK photographer, and a bulldog who chases copyright infringers. While I was on the phone, interviewing him for this article, a British city council coughed up 12,500 pounds ($16,000) for stealing his images and using them for four years. That is a pretty big victory. He chases infringers in any jurisdictions he thinks he can get a result, which includes the USA. I am going to outline his methods later on in the article but first let me tell you a bit about his career.

Brixton riots, London 1981. Police advance on barricades in Railton Road as they clear the streets.(c)David Hoffman

Brixton riots, London 1981. Police advance on barricades in Railton Road as they clear the streets.(c)David Hoffman

He has been a photojournalist for 40 years. His beat is “social documentary photography” – he covers social issues, riots and protests, drug use, marginalised and homeless people. Although he used to work for photo agencies, he now licenses his own images, and gets a good proportion of his income from chasing up infringers.

His images are still in demand. Two films are going to be using them and he also has pictures published on websites and magazines. He is working on digitising his whole collection and then starting on a book and putting on exhibitions of his photography next year.

(c)David Hoffman

(c)David Hoffman

He says, “The commercial photography industry is losing billions in unpaid fees.” He cites Google Images and Facebook as companies which are effectively using other peoples’ creative work for commercial advantage without payment. He has obtained payment for unauthorised uses of images from The Huffington Post, MSN, Vice, and other major businesses.

He subscribes to various services which search for usages, and then he divides the infringers into two categories – either they are in jurisdictions where it is impossible to pursue, like China, or they are bloggers where the money is not worth chasing; or they are commercial companies who can, and should pay for the use of images, including major publishers, big pharmaceutical companies, and a “UK City Council” – who really ought to know better. They used 14 pix of his over four years in print publications and on their website, after cropping out David’s copyright information, so it is not as though they didn’t know what they were doing. David does a lot of the tedious business of pursuing infringers himself as well as using anti-infringement services like ImageRights .

David works closely with the Boston-based company, who offer three services to photographers and agencies: they track usages of images; they have an automated process to register images with the US Copyright Office; and they pursue infringers and recover damages.

Joe Naylor, founder and CEO says, “We’ve been going since 2008. We have a team of assessors and partner with nearly 50 law firms in the USA, Europe, Australia and other jurisdictions. Our software helps us assess the cases. We have three stages – cases that are not worth pursuing, cases that we will chase ourselves – we have a 60% success rate – and then ones that merit pursuing via our legal partners.”

ImageRights photographers receive 50-60% of the net recovery amount. If the court case is lost, or they cannot collect any damages, the photographer is not on the hook for fees, which must be a relief for many creatives.

Joe is particularly proud of the automated registration system, which allows ImageRights’ 7000 photographers to register their work with the US Copyright Office via the ImageRights application. This has probably saved numerous snappers from stress-related heart attacks, given the general frustration the USCO seems to engender.

Joe says that if an image is “Registered Timely” that makes a significant difference in the money that can be recovered. He quotes $1000-2000 in cases without, and perhaps $15K-40K for fees where the images have been correctly registered. “We have settled cases for upwards of $250,000.”

David says that he receives “at least 5 times” his subscription fees to ImageRights each year, which seems like a good deal. Although mainly representing individual photographers, ImageRights also represents Magnum, New-York based CPi and UK agency Lickerish.

David also recommends imagewitness as well as Google Reverse Image Search for tracking down uses. He is trialling PicScout at the moment. He also thinks highly of PixelRights.com as a portfolio site that makes it very difficult to steal images from.

He does feel that the courts systems often do not penalise infringers sufficiently – if they only have to cough up the fees they would have had to pay anyway, there is little incentive for them to pay, rather than if they had to fear stiff financial penalties for the blatant infringements and misuse of his work that he uncovers. However, at least one infringer is feeling $16K worse off in the wallet today!



juliancoffeshopcuJulian Jackson is a writer with extensive experience of picture research, whose main interests include photography and the environment. His portfolio is here: https://julianj.journoportfolio.com/ He also runs a Picture Research by Distance Learning Course www.picture-research-courses.co.uk. Linked-in profile.






A Constellation of Images

How things have changed! This researcher remembers thick, well thumbed-through paper bound catalogs with grainy images of the earth from space with impossibly long identifying numbers that one would note, and then order(snail mail) copy negs from and wait…6,8,10 weeks to receive!

ISS036-E-012464 (26 June 2013) --- One of the Expedition 36 crew members aboard the Earth-orbiting International Space Station captured this image of a waning gibbous moon from a point 225 miles above a position on Earth located near the Equator and the Atlantic coast of northern Africa.

ISS036-E-012464 (26 June 2013) — One of the Expedition 36 crew members aboard the Earth-orbiting International Space Station captured this image of a waning gibbous moon from a point 225 miles above a position on Earth located near the Equator and the Atlantic coast of northern Africa.

NASA, as will surprise nobody, is great (no: change that: the best: because they need to be) at recording stuff; so it will come as no surprise that they have an amazing archive of space-related imagery. Their website (see below) is updated on a daily basis, providing glimpses into the many facets of their incredible projects.

To focus on just one: an image titled “Expedition 48 Crew Lands safely on Earth” is a magnetic portrait of three astronauts – NASA astronaut Jeff Williams, and Russian cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka – having made landfall in rural Kazakhstan on September 2016, at the end of their mission on the spacecraft Soyuz TMA-20M.

There’s something endearingly human, seeing these fragile space adventurers sitting on field chairs (presumably to help them recover from experiencing earth’s heavier gravity) in their cosmic uniforms, being attended to by an appreciate ground crew. It’s a group effort – the three attended by huge numbers of support staff – and it’s collegial and humane. Even more so, when one realizes that only sixty years earlier, Cold War anxiety meant that America and Russia were waging a literal propaganda war using space as a public relations chess piece.

This shot from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows a maelstrom of glowing gas and dark dust within one of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies.

This shot from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows a maelstrom of glowing gas and dark dust within one of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies.

Examining this image for larger meaning is one thing; and might be called looking at the bigger picture; but NASA has MUCH bigger pictures than that if you want. Consider an image “Hubble Peers into the Storm”: of the Large Magellanic Cloud as viewed by the Hubble: a mix of dark dust and glowing gas in one of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies. According to NASA’s contextual information, this is capturing a stellar nursery known as “N159.” That’s right; not just one star, but a nursery of stars… in one corner of the frame…

So… pretty big (try not to think about it too much).

The good news for those who will never venture beyond this planet, is that we can navigate through an incredible array of imagery that takes us through every aspect of space exploration. NASA has always been interested in promoting its efforts to a wider public, both in terms of using the material to engender public relations support for its tax-payer funded efforts, as a non-commercial educational usage; but also with the less prosaic urge of a community determined to simply share the spoils of these fantastic labors: to share their “answers” to “everything” over a period of “infinity” with their fellow humans.

This is why, and this may surprise some, that NASA has a fairly benign usage policy for these images, often free for both commercial and non-commercial use. Of course, they are not beyond commercial exploitation of their imagery (and so they shouldn’t be); but the guidelines of usage are accommodating:


News outlets, schools, and text-book authors may use NASA content without needing explicit permission. In some cases, there are restrictions, especially with regard to usage of the well-known NASA logo; and likenesses of NASA employees (in a quaintly human scale perspective, it seems we can look into the heavens, via Hubble, and gas giants, and dwarf stars, and thereby into the face of “God” without fear of recourse; but the face of Neil Armstrong might require a more earthly contract of enforced engagement…).

Infrared Echoes of a Black Hole Eating a Star. NASA/JPL-Caltech

Infrared Echoes of a Black Hole Eating a Star. NASA/JPL-Caltech

Getty’s Open Letter to U.S. Senators

Many thanks for the DMLA for keeping us informed on this important issue!

Getty Images has written an Open Letter to U.S. Senators regarding Google’s anti-competitive practice of image scraping.  This policy change on the part of Google was implemented in 2013 and greatly impacts anyone who displays images on the internet.

Getty is asking for support from visual associations and image licensing companies, as well as the photographers that we represent.  We ask you to read the letter and if you agree with it, please add your name.

You can read the letter here.

Minden Pictures – and the formula for Longevity and Success

 Larry Minden is the founder/owner of Minden Pictures, a niche stock agency specializing in wildlife and nature imagery he launched in 1987. Maintaining its independence and reputation for quality, Minden is highly regarded for its curated collection and outstanding contributors. Larry lives on the central coast of California with his wife Linda. He has four fledged children.

  1. Tell us how you got started in the photography business.

larry-mindenI’ve been interested in animals from my earliest days. As a kid I roamed the hills around my California home collecting butterflies and catching lizards and snakes. When I moved out East, I spent my time bird watching and catching frogs and turtles. This infatuation continued in college where I began carrying a camera during wildlife studies in the Southwest deserts, Galapagos and the Chilean Andes. While working on a master’s thesis I got really bogged down and gladly accepted an offer to join a photographer friend on a shooting trip to Baja California where he was working on a project for Sierra Club Books. When we returned, I began working part time at his home office to keep me fed while dealing with writer’s block. There I learned the nuts and bolts of the stock photo business. Eventually I ran his office. That photographer was Frans Lanting.

00545104 Leopard (Panthera pardus) female in tree, Chobe National Park, Botswana (c)Richard Du Toit / Minden Pictures

Leopard (Panthera pardus) female in tree, Chobe National Park, Botswana
(c)Richard Du Toit / Minden Pictures

  1. How did that lead to your founding Minden Pictures?

I ran the Lanting office for a few years while also looking for a job as a conservation biologist. As this was during the Reagan years, funding was really lean for anything related to the environment and no jobs were to be had – at least nothing of interest. I got one offer to survey tourists arriving in Galapagos to help understand the trends and impacts of tourism on the islands but that didn’t sound like my cup of tea. So, instead I set about the prospect of expanding my role of agent for a single photographer into a specialized agency representing multiple natural history photographers. At the time we were quite successful syndicating feature stories to top magazines worldwide, so I approached other freelancers publishing in National Geographic magazine. Jim Brandenburg was the second to join, then Michio Hoshino, Mark Moffett, Mitsuaki Iwago and Flip Nicklin. This became the core group at Minden Pictures.

00556285 Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus) and Golden Trevally (Gnathanodon speciosus) school, Cenderawasih Bay, West Papua, Indonesia (c)Pete Oxford / Minden Pictures

Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus) and Golden Trevally (Gnathanodon speciosus) school, Cenderawasih Bay, West Papua, Indonesia
(c)Pete Oxford / Minden Pictures

  1. What have the “choke points” been for you over the years?

I have to laugh about “choke points” as our office has been flooded – not once but twice. One time my dad and I were up all night sand bagging the doors trying to keep out the water rising from a combination of clogged drains during a heavy rain and a big storm swell at high tide. We managed to keep most of the water out, but had to remove the lower drawers from the file cabinets storing the chromes to insure none were ruined by the wet carpet. I remember leaving for Tokyo one of the following days to visit an agent; the carpets were pulled up, huge blowers were roaring away like jet engines and my staff was anxiously packing desiccant into every corner to dry things out. Fortunately, we had no film damage.

There was also the Loma Prieta earthquake. I think it knocked over every cabinet, bookcase and desk in our second story office. We lost one chrome but fortunately no one got hurt other than being knocked silly as we fled to safety down the staircase to the parking lot below.

In all seriousness though, the single biggest choke point for Minden Pictures was managing the transition from analog to digital. We had to bear the cost of servicing clients who wanted chromes and those wanting scanned files with equal speed and expertise all without any bump in revenues. As we all quickly discovered, the notion of the web as a whole new parallel revenue source turned out to be the biggest bust ever.

00536613 Migratory Locust (Locusta migratoria) swarm being harvested for food, Isalo National Park, Madagascar (c)Ingo Arndt / Minden Pictures

Migratory Locust (Locusta migratoria) swarm being harvested for food, Isalo National Park, Madagascar
(c)Ingo Arndt / Minden Pictures

  1. Your collection is all rights-managed now. Have you considered offering royalty-free imagery or any other options?

We’ve considered offering RF images but have not yet made the leap. Many of our photographers don’t want their images licensed as RF and most of our clients are editorial, thus finding print-sized RF files a bit costly. Nonetheless, we continue the discussion in-house, looking for the right strategy to use RF imagery to complement our existing RM collection.

In addition to RM licensing, we offer on-demand print products through a number of platforms and do quite well there. We’ve also experimented with an embedded image product for use in science and education, but like others who have preceded us down this path, we have found a successful revenue model to be elusive.

  1. At a time when so many agencies big and small have been acquired or closed, what’s the key to Minden’s survival and continuing success?

Our success can best be attributed to our commitment to quality. From the outset, we sought to attract only the very best photographers. Moreover, we were very selective, attempting to recruit only shooters who had something new and different to add to the mix. Many have been to the same locations or shot the same species, but in each case we tried to bring on individuals who contributed something we didn’t already have in the archive. By keeping the numbers low and making an attempt to give each photographer some uniqueness and a bigger presence in the agency, the photographers have in turn shown a commitment to us. It became a pretty tight group and I think it’s worked out well for all of us.

We made the same commitment to quality in a technical sense. When it came time to go digital, we didn’t take the easy path like so much of our competition, banging out scans on a Nikon desktop unit. I hired the best scanner operator in town and after a short stint on a Scitex flatbed, we used nothing but drum scanners until digital capture became the norm.

And finally, I’ve got a great staff, most of whom have been with me 20 – 25 years.

00140815 Adelie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) group crowding on melting summer ice floe, Possession Island, Ross Sea, Antarctica (c)Tui De Roy / Minden Pictures

Adelie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) group crowding on melting summer ice floe, Possession Island, Ross Sea, Antarctica
(c)Tui De Roy / Minden Pictures

  1. Finally, tell us something about you that might surprise people.

Hmmm…not many people in the industry know much about me so it’s hard to imagine what might surprise them. How about that I was thrown in jail in the aftermath of a coup attempt in Portugal in the mid 1970s? Or that I worked jobs at the first Hard Rock Cafe at Hyde Park corner including bartender and bouncer? Surprised yet? How about that I have six toes?

SAN RAFAEL OR COCA San Rafael or Coca Falls on the Quijos River, Amazon, Ecuador (c)Pete Oxford / Minden Pictures

SAN RAFAEL OR COCA San Rafael or Coca Falls on the Quijos River, Amazon, Ecuador
(c)Pete Oxford / Minden Pictures

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 3.35.52 PMMichael Masterson has a broad range of experience in marketing, business development, strategic planning, contact negotiations and recruiting in the photography, graphic design and publishing industries. In addition to his long experience at the Workbook and Workbookstock, Masterson owned and was creative director of his own graphic design firm for several years. Masterson has been a speaker or panelist at industry events such as Seybold, PhotoPlus Expo, Visual Connections and the Picture Archive Council of America (PACA) national conference. He is past national president of the American Society of Picture Professionals (ASPP). He currently heads Masterson Consulting, working on projects ranging from business development for creative companies and sourcing talent for them to promoting and marketing industry events as well as providing resume and professional profile services for job-seekers. He can be reached at michaeldmasterson@gmail.com.

Connecting with new DMLA President Geoff Cannon

Fresh from the Board Retreat, we caught up with new Board President Geoff Cannon to find out what DMLA (Digital Media Licensing Association) is up to.

Why were you inspired to take on the Presidency of DMLA?

After 4 years on the Board as a Member-at-Large, I grew to understand the importance of the advocacy and educational efforts of the Association and its importance as a resource for the membership. With the increasing pressure on Intellectual Property rights, the licensing industry needs a voice to speak on its behalf to lawmakers and policymakers. DMLA is that voice.

The stock/digital media industry has a history of always being in flux – a curse and blessing. What do you see as the biggest changes the industry is facing and how does DMLA figure in the equation?

The increasing impact of technology on the licensing business – digital capture on personal devices, image sharing through social media, big data’s impact on search technology, cloud technology, image recognition software, integration of image licensing into the workflows of broader applications i.e. Adobe’s suite of applications. In this changing landscape it’s more important than ever to have DMLA advocate for, and be a resource for, the entities and individuals engaged in the business of digital media licensing.

Say I am a small agency owner – give me the elevator pitch on why I need to join DMLA and the best way to engage.

Benefits of Membership – Why you need to join

  • Get Connected and Stay Informed – Your connection to more than 125 global members and the DMLA Blog instantly brings you the latest news.
  • DMLA Conference – Now in its 21st year, the Conference has earned a reputation as the industry’s best educational conference. It offers a great opportunity to network with your peers and connect with potential trade partners and vendors.
  • DMLAsearch – A mega meta-search engine designed for digital media buyers an researches. Your image and footage collection included for free when you are a DMLA General Member.
  • Advocacy – Championing the legal interests of our Members by taking a leading role in Industry Proceedings. You get regular updates on rights and licensing issues.
  • Document Library – Continually updated Legal Forms for your business including contributor and distribution agreements, model and property releases, Copyright registration forms, infringement letter templates and settlement agreements. These can be particularly valuable to new entries to the industry.
  • Education – A library of webinars, PowerPoint presentations and toolkits available to all Members.

Once you’ve become a Member the best way to maximize your benefit is to join us for the Conference and for those looking for even more engagement, volunteer for one of our committees. We would welcome your input!

What do you see your mission statement/legacy for your term being?

A primary focus for the Board this term will be the expansion of the membership base and revenue opportunities for DMLA. From its beginning as the Picture Archive Council of America, the Association has been almost exclusively made up of members who either had a collection of images or licensed images. There are many more constituents that would benefit from a stronger association with DMLA through Membership or Sponsorship including producers of other forms of digital media, corporate or institutional archives, non-profit archives and the many technology providers servicing digital media licensors. We’re off to a good start with both Membership and Sponsorship so far. Adobe will be our first every PLATINUM Conference sponsor. They will not only be supporting the meetings, but also providing beverages at the DMLA Opening Reception held in conjunction with Visual Connections and a great place to meet and network with both buyers and fellow DMLA attendees.

Check out the program for the upcoming conference: Reality Reimagined also – many sessions are of interest for buyers as well as agency owners.

geoff_cannonWith 35 years of experience in publishing, creative services, international sales and marketing management, Geoff joined Masterfile in 2001 as Executive VP and directs North American sales and business development as well as managing international affiliations. Well positioned indeed to lead the DMLA!

Knowing the difference … and our history

Editorial by Simon Herbert

Context is everything in life; so perhaps it’s no surprise that, as digital social platforms such as Facebook begin to supplant more traditional news sources (even digital online newspapers), the boundaries of both taste and fact are being explored in new ways. The most recent high-profile case is the (now settled) row that blew up between Erna Holberg, Prime Minister of Norway, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (Zuckerberg never responded personally, but through his PR machine; but Holberg made his address directly to the founder). Holberg posted a photograph in support of writer Tom Egeland; after Facebook removed the same image of a naked female child from Egeland’s Facebook page.

For those who support vigilance against child pornography, in the context of an Internet that hides a mass of pedophiles, this surely seemed like the right thing to do?

Well… no, because this was not child pornography: Solberg’s protest repost was of the iconic Vietnam war image, by acclaimed photojournalist Nick Ut, of napalm victim Kim Phúc; the small girl bombed in the town of Trang Bang on June 8, 1972. Her clothes hadn’t been salaciously removed by a pervert; but burned off by South Vietnamese napalm.

Since Solberg’s actions, Facebook has reinstated the image, in a clear statement of intention that there are contextual considerations for certain images. However, this story doesn’t really end there (in fact, it’s only just beginning), because the questions raised are so valid.

Is Facebook really a “new source” by default of our abandonment of traditional newspapers, and did it ever even ask for this? Does Facebook have an editorial board that regulates its own published content; or is it trying to adapt broad consensual societal standards of content, across its hundreds of millions of “publishers” in a vain and clunky attempt to ban salacious imagery? If the horror of child pornography is unacceptable on one polarity, and, on the other polarity, we must never stop seeing images of the horror of war; then where does “art” exist on this sliding scale? For instance, where do the photographs of Sally Mann’s children in her book, ‘Immediate Family’ lie on this scale? Seeing as there isn’t an “art versus porn” filter that Facebook users can adopt to self-regulate – so that Mann’s supporters could see her tasteful and evocative images; but her detractors will not have their more conservative tastes offended – then how can any platform police itself; and hit the balance between access and vigilance? Does your opinion count? Should it count?

Because taste is a mutable thing (insert your own favorite flashpoint topic: torture porn; raw comedy; hip-hop lyrics); and context is everything…

There are other questions to be raised here; such as knowing our visual history and how this pivotal image (and the work of so many journalists) brought the Vietnam War up close and made it personal in a way never known before. How and when did we, as a collective community, allow this to be forgotten?

There is more good commentary in The Guardian newspaper.

Lee Miller – From Art to Destruction and Back Again

Who was Lee Miller?

web_Self Portrait with sphinxes

Born in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1907, Lee Miller was an amazing woman who led an incredible life, then drifted into obscurity: a 1920’s supermodel, she gave it up to go to Paris and work with Man Ray, becoming a surrealist photographer in her own right. Returning to New York to set up a studio, she was soon in great demand for portrait and fashion photography. After a period in Egypt she became a freelance photographer for British Vogue as World War 2 broke out, photographing the bombing of London known as the Blitz. In 1944 she became a combat correspondent for the US Army, accompanying the troops into Europe – one of the first female war photographers. She photographed conflict extensively, including the grim Siege of St Malo in August 1944 and the Liberation of Paris, and was among the first to take pictures of Nazi concentration camps and their victims. Reaching Adolf Hitler’s house in Munich with US forces, she promptly took a bath in his bathroom!

After the war she married Roland Penrose, an English painter, and moved to Farley Farm House in the Sussex countryside, where she photographed artists who were friends, including Picasso, Miró and others, continuing to work almost up to her death in 1977.

Lee Miller was deeply traumatised by the horrific events she had witnessed. Her son and biographer, Antony Penrose, says, “She had what we would now call PTSD”. She buried her collection of prints and negatives in the attic. She wanted to forget all about them. Her life and career disappeared down the “Memory Hole”.

Antony’s wife Suzanna was going through her things after her death and was astonished to find an enormous cache of photographs in cardboard boxes. Tony says, “We found this amazing collection of images going back to her early years in Paris in 1929, reaching practically to the end of her life. We didn’t have a clue what to do with them. I was a dairy farmer and my wife was a ballet teacher – although we had a love of art and photography, neither of knew anything about the commercial side of the media. Thanks to the advice of the then Curator of Photography at the V & A Museum, Mark Haworth-Booth, we enlisted Valerie Lloyd, a young curator, to survey and catalogue the material, which amounted to 60,000 negatives and 20,000 original prints as well as diaries and manuscripts.”



After that they were faced with the dilemma – what to do with it. If they gave it to a museum it would just sit in a basement, probably unseen by anyone, except the most diligent researcher.

“By this time both of us had fallen in love with the images.”

They wondered about setting up a photo-agency and were told that if they succeeded commercially, they would be the first artist’s estate to do so! Somehow a publisher heard they had some pictures of Picasso, sent a car round immediately, published them, and paid for them.

Tony says, “I thought, bloody hell, there is some hope!”

They decided to continue, with the aid of the British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies (BAPLA), and in particular Sal and Brian Shuel, who supported them as they ventured into the unknown territory. “They were absolutely brilliant, they held our hands, they gave us the loan forms, showed us the procedures, gave us an idea what to charge, we couldn’t have done it without them.”

He wrote “The Lives of Lee Miller”, which came out in 1985 and coincided with their first major exhibition, at The Photographers’ Gallery in London. It was very hard to establish themselves but the images gradually reached an audience.

Now the agency employs ten staff, and became profitable ten years ago. The pictures are held in a climate-controlled vault which was specially built to contain the archive. The picture agency is the backbone of their income, while they intermittently create large exhibitions of Lee Miller’s work. Tony was slightly coy about forthcoming projects but hinted that they were working on a big exhibition which would tour the US in the future. He says the worst problem they face is pirating of their images.

The collection is not static as recently they have started adding other photographers connected to the era and subject matter that Lee Miller photographed, including the estate of Life photographer (and friend of Lee’s) David E. Scherman, and Andrew Lanyon, who photographed artists like Miró and Man Ray when they visited the farm.

For real fans of her life and work, Farley Farm House is open to visitors for tours on Sundays in the summer months, who can see the fabulous collection of art built up by Lee Miller and Roland Penrose, including Picasso, Man Ray and Max Ernst.

Tony says, “It is very rewarding to see how many admirers, particularly young women, are inspired by her work, they dump dull careers, dull relationships, and become these forward-moving women photographers. I love it!” He finished, laughing.

Lee Miller Archives:www.leemiller.co.uk

All images © 2016 Lee Miller Archives, England. All rights reserved. www.Leemiller.co.uk

juliancoffeshopcuJulian Jackson is a writer with extensive experience of picture research, whose main interests include photography and the environment. His portfolio is at: julianj.journoportfolio.com He also runs a Picture Research by Distance Learning Course: www.picture-research-courses.co.uk. Linked-in profile.

The CNN Collection – Compelling and Vast

Bobby Dicks, Director of Sales & Licensing at the CNN Collection, talks with us about all things CNN that a researcher needs to know.

The CNN Collection encompasses over 35 years of footage. Tell us a bit about what sets this collection apart and what keeps it that way?

It is true that for more than three and a half decades CNN has covered and continues to report on major newsworthy events both in the US and internationally. Consequently, the CNN Collection curates and archives some of the most compelling footage from around the globe – this includes ‘exclusive’ branded video, b-roll, and archival footage. In addition to our editorial collection, we license cinematic b-roll from some of CNN’s original series. Our team of skilled professionals specializes in serving the footage needs of fiction and non-fiction storytellers – in every medium – helping establish and frame their narrative in rich and creative ways.

Do you see any parallels in the challenges facing still collections and the challenges motion collections deal with? Shrinking budgets, ubiquitous material, declines in quality? How are you and your team addressing this?

The barrier to entry of creating the type and quality of curated, motion content that the CNN Collection provides remains fairly high as compared to content in still and motion archives that find themselves becoming commoditised. With budgets, our team’s focus is to work really hard at helping productions license footage with the correct rights package – which often enables our clients to actually get more content with the already squeezed budgets they may be working with.

How do you work with projects that require talent and property releases?

We review requests on a case by case basis and take many parameters into consideration before approving or denying these requests. We tend to start with the who, what, and why. We then dig deeper into the contextual use of the content and address any other questions as needed.

Technology evolves so quickly – how are you staying ahead of the curve with the latest innovations and customers’ wide range of needs?

From a user experience standpoint, we’ve focused heavily on removing technological barriers for our customers and giving footage researchers the ability to quickly find, preview, and download the right type of footage for their project on our website – where licensing footage is possible with just a credit card. For larger projects with more sophisticated footage requirements, our clients collaborate with our team of licensing and research professionals who have intimate knowledge of our collection and advanced research technologies. We offer our customers editorial and commercial footage in various fidelities including archival quality, High Definition (HD), and 4K – all available via digital delivery. In addition to our core collection, we offer a variety of shots to fit different customers’ visual storytelling needs including: aerial, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), time-lapse, iReport, and more. We’ve found that even the most compelling content and evolved tech must be bundled with top notch customer service and user experience – and that’s what we provide.

Social Media and UGC – how does it figure in your business and what are your thoughts about its impact on the commercial content licensing world?

We’ve engaged citizen journalists (or, as we call them, CNN iReporters) who often have immediate access to developing news and generate very compelling and unique visual content. When our clients’ story requires that “first-person” look, we draw on our iReport collection to help productions visually tell their story in a way that is reflective of today’s world, which is dominated by mobile phones and user generated content.

Would love to know about some of the favorite usages of your material – I understand you contributed to Oscar winning documentary ‘CitizenFour’? Best loved clips? Little known gems?

We have contributed to many high profile television shows, films, advertisement campaigns, and public displays. Here are just a handful of our favorites: “Ghostbusters”; “House of Cards” ; “The Martian” ; “Straight Outta Compton” ; HBO’s “Confirmation” ; “PBS Frontline” ; ESPN’s “30 for 30” series; 9/11 Museum; Newseum; and Oklahoma City Bombing Museum.


How does your team and customer base work with your transcripts? Seems like an invaluable research tool.

Many of our clients are professional researchers and prefer to do footage mining themselves, so we try to enable them with as many tools as possible. Some of these tools include: transcripts, our youtube channel, our website advanced search, cnn.com, and the capability to submit a custom research request directly to our team of researchers. All these tools are also available to the general public and enables us to pin-point the exact footage our customers are seeking.

How is CNN Collection poised to supply material and meet the needs during this election cycle?

Whether on cable TV or on the web, CNN is synonymous with politics, and this is reflected in our viewership ratings, online visitors, etc. Our clients count on our politics archive not only for the latest in political footage including CNN exclusive interviews but also archival footage of key players and events in the political arena. Here’s one creative use of our footage in a Facebook online ad campaign:

What else would you like us to know about CNN Collection?

The ‘CNN Collection’ archive draws on coverage which spans from the early 1980s through today’s biggest global and local news events. With our vast, global newsgathering network (42 editorial operations around the world) and with our local news affiliates, we’re able to license a wide variety of topical content across popular categories like crime and justice, weather, military, politics and many more. A large portion of the ‘CNN Collection’ library is digitized and available in High Definition (HD) with the remaining library available in archival quality via digital delivery. We also offer editorial and commercial content in 4K fidelity, stunning aerial and UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) shots, and beautiful time-lapse footage. On our website, cnn.com/collection, we make available (for free!) comps that storytellers can download and use before deciding to license that final, perfect shot. When working with the ‘CNN Collection’ team, customers can count on our subject/mater experts with 90+ years of collective experience in the archive/licensing business.

Bobby Dicks, CNN CollectionBobby Dicks specializes in helping fiction and non-fiction storytellers — in every medium — establish and frame their narrative with current and archival footage from the biggest and smallest global and local news coverage. Bobby’s specialty: creative collaboration, oftentimes embedded in the ideation and story-development stages of a production, helping shape what consumers ultimately see on their screens – from the mobile phone to motion pictures.

Bobby worked with Laura Poitras’ documentary Citizenfour; the film received an Oscar® in the ‘Best Documentary Feature’ category. For his contribution to the project, Dicks earned a ‘Footage Library of the Year’ nomination for the ‘CNN Collection’ at the 2015 FOCAL International Awards.

Networking, anyone?

Let us switch gears and think about how to refresh our freelance networking skills. By Sheridan Stancliff.

When most of us embarked on our freelance career, one of the common pieces of advice is: build your network. That’s all well and good, but how? And then once I build this network, how on earth do I utilize it to help with my business? Will the time I spend creating this spider web of contacts be worth the time and effort I put into it? The answer is yes – however, it may not be in ways you immediately see or in a way you can easily quantify.

Let me give an example:

A number of years ago, I attended an informal breakfast club with a friend of mine that worked in television. I had met her through participating in Team in Training for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In that group, I met a number of other women from various industries – including many in TV/film. Some of us kept in touch over Facebook through the years, offering congratulations on engagements, condolences during tragedies, bonding over delicious sounding cocktail posts, that sort of thing. Out of the blue this year, I received a message from one of them who was working on a major network show and she inquired as to the website for the stock agency I co-founded. I sent her the link and she informed me that the design team needed an image for a romance cover that was being used in an upcoming episode and, when they were unable to find what they needed in general agencies, this woman remembered me and my collection. The next thing I knew, one of our images was being used in a hit TV show.

This is the power of networking.

So how does one build a network? An easy answer: go out and talk to people. I don’t mean go out and tell everyone you know you are Jane Doe and you take pictures of dancers or design ads for restaurants. No one wants to talk to the person who is always pitching or talking about themselves. So then, how do you do it?

First, get involved. While I realize not everyone has the personality to join every social group they find on MeetUp, you must break out of your bubble in order to expand your circle. Good news: this can be done virtually as well as face-to-face. Make a list of things that interest you both relating to your profession and also things that don’t have anything to do with it.

Say you are a designer that has worked in the fitness industry for years. Sure, find a design group on LinkedIn or online where you can share stories and find others who are in the design world (we all need compatriots to vent to or ask specific advice of) and become active in that group. Then become involved with things outside your industry that interests you. Love to cook? Find a supper club. Love to ride bikes? Hit up your local bike shop and join some group rides. Addicted to Pokemon Go? Search for a group that puts together hunts.

While at first, you may see this as frivolous time, it is building a network of people outside your direct industry. You may not even discuss professions for the first few meetings, but as you get to know these people through a common interest, that information eventually comes out and you can file what they do in your memory (you may also have a lot of fun in the process!)

Next, spend much of your time helping others rather than asking what they can do for you. Not only will you be earning respect, but you will also gain credibility as an expert and knowledgeable about what you do. You’ll move from a random name on the screen or hiding out on the sidelines to someone people remember. In the short term, you may not see any perceived benefit from this, but in the long term, it may pay off in ways you may not imagine.

You’re network is growing, now what?

Now you maintain it, this is where many fall short. If the only time you reach out to people you know is when you need something, you don’t present a very genuine connection, but rather one that is based on what they can do for you. What do I recommend? Make it a little personal. As you ask more about the people you come in contact with, make mental notes about their interests or hobbies, families, funny stories, etc. Make notes in your contact file if you need to. Place reminders in your calendar about special dates or just to drop someone a line. Then every so often, send a quick email, share a link, or make some other form of contact that has nothing to do what you can do for them. I can’t tell you how many freelance gigs I’ve landed by chance just by reaching out to people to ask about them and touch base.

Know a client who loves wines and you heard about a wonderful new vineyard? Share an article about it.

Have a friend who is a Francophile and there’s a website that just ranked the top patisseries in Paris? Send them the link.

Someone you’ve met has just started a running program and you read an inspiring piece about someone who just took up the sport and did great? Share it.

This not only lets your contacts know you keep them in mind, but that you listen to what they have to say. It also puts a reminder in their mind about you without your calling them asking if they know of any jobs or others you might call to ask for gigs.

Most of all, be genuine.

A network is much like a garden: you plant seeds, you tend it, pull out a few weeds from time to time, and then watch it flourish to provide you with big benefits.

(c)Chip Latshaw

© Chip Latshaw

Sheridan Stancliff has spent more than 15 years in marketing and marketing communications, working in all aspects of the industry, from public relations photography and event management to advertising, direct mail and sales. She opened SheridanINK, a boutique marketing company specializing in helping fiction authors, in 2011 and Novel Expression in 2014.