Author Mark E. Johnson

On Creativity

This piece from Photo District News on Claire Rosen’s book Imaginarium is worth some time, even if just for this one quote:

Our culture has shifted in such a way that it’s easier to be a consumer of content rather than having individual experiences.

Think about that as you work on your stories – what can you show that can’t be seen elsewhere? There is no point in making images like everyone else, the distribution model is such that you can’t compete with obvious imagery, you have to go where others are not.

Automating the Copyright Infringement Search

Steven Melendez at FastCompany has an interesting piece up on two companies – Copypants and Pixsy – that are automating the search for copyright infringements online.

The technology (similar to Google’s and TinEye’s reverse image search) has the potential to be a powerful way to control how our images are used. The danger comes from how the process moves forward after finding a possible infringement – overly aggressive law firms could spur rollbacks of copyright protections in a worst-case scenario.

Now, if there were a way to get hosting platforms to tie into a reverse image search with the Copyright Office to stop the images from even getting posted, that could be a game changer – getting more people to register AND making potential infringers aware of what they are doing.

(Thanks to John Harrington for the link.)

Seeing Color in the Positive

My friend David LaBelle writes about meeting a shared hero, Gordon Parks, and one of his students who shares his vision.

Since my youth, I’ve always seen award winning photos that contained a person of color suffering. The positives are rarely shown. That has inspired me to attempt to change the narrative by photographing people of color in a positive light, via celebration or any other time their suffering is not being exploited.

The Value of Photo Editors

Nice piece over at National Geographic on the relationship between photo editors and photojournalists. This is a relationship we all need to understand, need to take advantage of and/or need to find for ourselves.

The Image, Deconstructed Workshop

High on my list of events I want to get to is The Image, Deconstructed Workshop out in Colorado:

THE IMAGE, DECONSTRUCTED workshop is an immersive weekend photographic experience. Attendees are welcome from all skills levels. The workshop will be held at The Denver Post in downtown Denver, Colorado.

Our faculty is comprised of award-winning leaders in the field. They will help attendees become more aware of their purpose and vision. Importantly, they can help demonstrate how to express this more effectively.

When Assisting Means Employed

David Walker at Photo District News has taken a look at several legal issues related to large-scale photo shoots, ones where “assistants” are routinely hired to help with the production.

The common industry term “assistants” means something different in New York and California. Most of us think of assistants as independent contractors, paid a flat rate to work on a shoot. In two states, it means they are employees and have to be paid at the end of the day, with taxes taken out and have a workers’ comp and unemployment insurance in place.

That is a game changer for a lot of budgets. This is worth a close read.

Storytelling Lessons

My friend Al Tompkins at the Poynter Institute has broken down a couple of Super Bowl commercials to help us become better storytellers.

Worth clicking through for the other ad breakdown.

“I am not useful for my camera if I die.”

Karam Shoumali told the story of Syrian photojournalist Hosam Katan on The New York Times’ Lens blog a few months back, it’s worth reading to understand how Syrian journalists have covered and been affected by the war there.

Southwestern Photojournalism Conference Moves … East?

Yep, what has been in Texas for years is now in Nashville, Tennessee, February 15-17.

I’ve heard many great things about this event and, if I didn’t have a conflict, I would head there myself.

China’s 79-Year-Old Sports Photographer

Hong Nanli is my new sports photography hero and will be yours, too.

(Thanks to Mark Hertzberg for the link.)