Author Mark E. Johnson

Seeking Visual Truth

Screen Shot 2017 01 17 at 12 59 44 PM

This piece ran on The New York Times’ Lens blog last month but I held it until now. John Morris has had more to do with how we visualize our world than, perhaps, almost else and yet no one knows who he is.

“If they no longer think truth is important, that’s the end of journalism,” Mr. Morris said. “It’s a very serious situation. I hope for the best but am fearing the worst.”

What’s Important Is the Next Picture

Nice, short interview with Bruce Davidson at Time’s Lightbox blog where he talks about his 1959 photographs of a Brooklyn gang.

Want to get images this intimate? Follow this advice:

I was close and I stayed longer.

Worth sticking through the pre-roll ad.

White House News Photographer Association Student Contest


Tis the season to seek out fame and, possibly, fortune … the White House News Photographer Association’s Student Contest is accepting entries until February 1.

There is a $25 fee to enter, but that can be applied towards a student membership … which is also $25. So, you can join and enter for the same $25 bucks. Not a bad deal.

Arbus, Avedon and Winogrand Images in Atlanta

This is on my list of things to get to … the High Museum of Art in Atlanta has an exhibit of work from Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon and Garry Winogrand up through February 26.

Alexia Foundation Entries Now Being Accepted

The Alexia Foundation has opened their call for grant applications for both professional and student entries. The professional prize is worth $20,000, the student prize is a semester’s undergraduate tuition at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University – that’s worth about $21,000.

Professional deadline is January 31, student deadline is February 14. There’s no fee for students to enter, $50 for pros.

Disclaimer: I am a twice-peeled Syracuse alum and worked for the foundation while I was a graduate student. The foundation was created by the parents of Alexia Tsairis, one of 35 SU students who were killed in December 1988 when a terrorist exploded a bomb on board Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. I was a first-semester student then and Alexia was a promising photojournalism student returning from a semester studying in London.

Castro In Photographs

The morning brought news that Fidel Castro had died at the age of 90. A click to The New York Times brought me to this video that has some of the amazing work that Jack Manning did during a short trip to Cuba in 1964. Even if you turn the sound down (which I don’t recommend you do, as Richard Eder’s story is fascinating), the images are a text book example of how to document a person within their place and time. 

Peter Turnley Print Sale

If you were looking for a gift for your favorite professor or decided this was the time to invest in artwork, head over to Peter Turnley’s print sale

There’s a lyrical sense to his work that I have loved for decades. Yeah, they are expensive, but this is another revenue stream for wonderful documentary work. And #12 is just such a wonderful moment …

NPPA Voting Opens

It’s time to vote for openings on the National Press Photographers Association’s board of directors and a couple of regional chairs. I started reading through the bios for all the candidates this morning – there are some phenomenally good people running this year, choosing just two for the board will be brutal.

Think deeply about what you want our of our association – and, remember, it is ours. We are members and not subscribers. Read the bios, ponder deeply and get your vote cast by November 30.

The number of folks who vote fluctuates, but if you care about visual journalism, if you care about our NPPA, then it is your obligation to vote.

Photographing A Candidate

A great look inside the work done by The New York Times’ Damon Winter during the presidential campaign.

I know that I can never explain the day’s news the way our writers do, but what I can do is help the reader feel what it is like to be there and to make pictures that have meaning beyond the objects in the frame.

My role is not to make the candidate look good or make the crowds look impressive. My job is to tell the story.

NPPA Awards

Been inspired by someone? Perhaps they deserve recognition from the National Press Photographers Association.