April 15, 2014 · by David Campbell · media economy, multimedia
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In this short video interview with D.J. Clark, I talk about the major themes of the 2013 World Press Photo multimedia research report, which are more relevant than ever.

March 17, 2014 · by David Campbell · media economy, multimedia, photography
Reel Peek Films

With media organisations hungry for online video, this interview with Shaul Schwarz about Reel Peek Films discusses how his network of image makers are producing visual stories that explore issues in depth.

February 17, 2014 · by David Campbell · media economy, photography
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After two weeks judging the 2014 World Press Photo Contest, I reflect, as Secretary to the general jury, on the process and procedures that led to this year’s awards.

January 14, 2014 · by David Campbell · photography, politics
MB Congo

Intel’s decision to make conflict free microprocessors is the result of a long campaign, in which Marcus Bleasdale’s photos have played an important role. Understanding how Bleasdale became an advocate for action on conflict minerals makes us aware of how photojournalism can function as an agent of change.

December 19, 2013 · by David Campbell · photography, politics
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The antagonism between photographers and the White House needs to be broadened beyond the simple question of access. It is time to look at the bigger picture, and make the photo-op as much the subject, so we have a visual record of how events and issues are managed and staged.

November 26, 2013 · by David Campbell · photography, politics
Clark05

Edmund Clark’s Control Order House portrays a British suburban house in which a “controlled person” suspected of terrorism is detained. This interview with Clark explores how his photo book works as a political object.

November 17, 2013 · by David Campbell · media economy, photography
Ritchin Bending the Frame

What is professional photography for in the age of Instagram? This review of Fred Ritchin’s ‘Bending the Frame’ addresses some of the issues in this important book as it deals with that question.

November 8, 2013 · by David Campbell · photography
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The conversation about what photography is has often been frustrating…but it maybe slowly changing with a focus on the photographic process rather than its products.

October 24, 2013 · by David Campbell · media economy, photography
Rodger 2

Looking back at the career of George Rodger, one of the four founders of Magnum Photos, allows us to understand the past and present challenges of photojournalism differently. The ‘golden age’ may have been very short and a poor model for the present.

October 13, 2013 · by David Campbell · photography
06_instagram

Photojournalists are using Instagram as part of their professional practice. But too often lists of people to follow lack diversity.

September 5, 2013 · by David Campbell · Featured, media economy, photography
Erik Kessels Flickr photographs flood

Are we exposed to an overload of photographs? Although much used, the are three key reasons why the metaphor of a flood of images is misleading.

August 27, 2013 · by David Campbell · Featured, photography, politics
AP Photo-Shaam News Network

What is the relationship between imagery and action in Syria?

August 20, 2013 · by David Campbell · media economy
wp-blue-1024x768

Your digital space needs to be stable, fast and well supported to function effectively. And that means you need good web host to provide peace of mind – especially, if like me, you don’t have sufficient technical skills to manage the hosting of your site personally. After some troubled times, I’ve finally found a web host I trust.

August 12, 2013 · by David Campbell · photography
Vanessa Winship

It’s been quiet in these parts again…June was spent working on a video project for the West End Refugee Service in Newcastle, and July was spent doing research on refugee images in the Australian media at the University of Queensland. Now that I’m back I’ve been catching up on reading, and the “Coming of Age”…

May 31, 2013 · by David Campbell · media economy, multimedia
iStock_000023487932Medium

Understanding the changing relationship between scarcity and abundance – and how they affect value – is essential for visual storytellers seeking to operate in the new ecology of information…

May 21, 2013 · by David Campbell · Featured, media economy, multimedia
The world is at her fingertips

Rather than entering a new age of distraction and superficiality, digital disruption is actually increasing demand for news and long form stories…

May 16, 2013 · by David Campbell · media economy, multimedia
iStock_000016115501Medium

The global spread of mobile technology is reshaping the media economy, putting the visual in pole position and fuelling social networks. What does this development mean for visual storytelling?

May 10, 2013 · by David Campbell · Featured, media economy, multimedia
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The screen has become the primary access point for much information. How are screen devices being used, and what are the implications for visual storytellers?

May 7, 2013 · by David Campbell · media economy, multimedia
iStock_000000503743Medium

The decline of newspapers is a trend dating back six decades. Understanding this is an essential precondition for thinking about the current state of play in the media economy…

May 3, 2013 · by David Campbell · media economy, multimedia
What happens in an internet minute

Disruption is the context for thinking about what is happening with visual storytelling, but what does it involve?

April 30, 2013 · by David Campbell · media economy, multimedia, photography
easelly_visual_590

How people make a living from ‘multimedia’ reporting and storytelling is one of the most pressing issues. This guest post from D J Clark reveals how five freelancers fund their work…

April 29, 2013 · by David Campbell · Featured, media economy, multimedia, photography
SSPL_10299598_Comp

What is “multimedia”? Searching for a single definition in answer to this question is neither possible nor desirable…

March 8, 2013 · by David Campbell · media economy
Spring

Few topics are as potentially toxic as the question of how one gets paid for creative work in the digital economy. But we need to avoid a moralising perspective and develop a more sophisticated understanding of the role ‘free’ plays in relation to paid in a structurally open system like the internet.

March 5, 2013 · by David Campbell · photography, Thought for the Week
TFTW9

TFTW…thought for the week…some occasional quotes to inspire… The photograph…is never solely the realization of the preconceived plan or a vision of a single author, but is rather the outcome of an encounter. This encounter involves four protagonists at least – a camera, whoever stands behind the lens, whoever faces the lens, and whoever might…

February 27, 2013 · by David Campbell · photography
Arles

This is an opportunity for a “student or emergent professional” to join me at a major international conference on “rapid changes in technologies of image-capture and the channels of communication.” The conference is hosted by the Luma Foundation, and will take place in Arles (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur) on 19-22 September 2013. The 2013 conference is the…

January 31, 2013 · by David Campbell · photography, politics
VietnamInc

Philip Jones Griffiths’ Vietnam Inc. is a masterpiece, a classic work of photojournalism in the Vietnam War. But it is often falsely claimed that the photographs in this book changed the course of world history. The latest iteration of this claim was a Magnum Photos tweet: Philip Jones Griffiths’ “Vietnam Inc.” was crucial in the…

January 22, 2013 · by David Campbell · multimedia, photography, politics
Sandy Hook 900

The Bush administration bequeathed a toxic legacy for contemporary politics. Most obviously in their mobilisation of war with Iraq, Bush and Cheney decided policy first and then manipulated intelligence to fit their framework. They weren’t the first politicians to mould facts to ideology, but the deep-rooted cultural disdain for the “reality-based community” exuded by their…

November 6, 2012 · by David Campbell · photography
Googlegram 200 detail

Given the difficulty of talking about photography, it is possible an image can convey insights about this complex field. Although it is now seven years old, and many will have seen it, Joan Fontcuberta’s Googlegram: Niépce (2005) is perhaps one such image. I’m not often taken by photographic art but seeing Googlegram: Niépce (2005) this…

October 18, 2012 · by David Campbell · media economy
file sharing

The revolutions in the media economy and the new media landscape are producing new dynamics in the circulation of digital files. To appreciate how image makers might function best in this new ecology, we need to learn from other areas, and music is one domain where some work has been done. The American Assembly, affiliated with Columbia…

October 10, 2012 · by David Campbell · photography, politics, Thinking Images
Schifres1

How should complex economic and political issues be represented visually? In telling the story of how Chinese labour produces so much of the world’s manufactured goods, Lucas Schifre opted for a well-known formula – individualise the issue by making portraits. They are all interesting and many are compelling, none less so than this photograph of…

October 2, 2012 · by David Campbell · photography
Henner

What is photography? Definitions are difficult things, and as photography has a complex and varied history, definition seems unattainable…

September 1, 2012 · by David Campbell · photography
speaking

It’s been a busy week first week back from vacation, with preparations for two major talks taking time. On Thursday 6 September I will be at Visa Pour L’Image in Perpignan, speaking in the Canon Professional Network Live series, on “Photojournalism in the New Media Economy: Making it Pay.” Two weeks later, on 21-22 September,…

July 21, 2012 · by David Campbell · More posts, photography
Instagram 900

It’s back – another round of high octane commentary on the supposedly nefarious influence of Hipstamatic and Instagram on the world of photography. We’ve had Jean-Francois Leroy of Visa Pour L’Image deride these apps as “all a gimmick…pure laziness“. We’ve read Kate Bevan in The Guardian detail how she loves manipulating her own digital images,…

July 6, 2012 · by David Campbell · multimedia
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I’m pleased to announce that I am directing a research project for World Press Photo – under the auspices of the World Press Photo Academy and supported by the FotografenFederatie (Dutch Photographers Association) – that will map the global emergence and development of multimedia in visual storytelling, especially photojournalism. ‘Multimedia’ is an imprecise and problematic term, and…

June 29, 2012 · by David Campbell · More posts, multimedia, photography
Bruce Springsteen and The E St Band

I fulfilled a long held ambition last week – seeing Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band live in concert. It lived up to all expectations. And then some, in a three hour virtuoso performance. Shortly after I read David Brooks’ New York Times column on what he took from watching Springsteen in Europe. It contained…

June 20, 2012 · by David Campbell · media economy, multimedia
MS_PPS

Few things remain more challenging, and require more experimentation, than finding a way to fund new visual stories. It has never been easy to sustain documentary work, but now we have a new development that is worth watching. MediaStorm have built an enviable reputation as the leading multimedia production studio, and their launch of “Pay Per…

June 12, 2012 · by David Campbell · media economy, photography, politics
morality

The controversy surrounding Ron Haviv’s sale of an image for use in a Lockheed Martin advertisement raises a host of issues. A number have been covered in the original charge by duckrabbit, Haviv’s response, VII’s statement, and commentaries by BagNewsNotes, Stan Baros, Joerg Colberg, Stella Kramer and Jim Johnson. Wired’s Raw File blog summarised the…

May 27, 2012 · by David Campbell · photography, politics
Jon Kudelka

The link between the camera and gun is evident in a shared metaphor, but is historically closer than we might imagine. During the 2004 battle for Fallujah in Iraq, NBC cameraman Kevin Sites filmed a marine shooting an insurgent in a mosque. Jon Kudelka’s cartoon (published in The Australian) references this event and points to…

May 21, 2012 · by David Campbell · photography, politics
Luvera 2

What does it mean for photographers to be socially engaged? That was the question posed at the North East Photography Network’s symposium on “Socially Engaged Practices” last Friday. In this region we are fortunate to have an active photographic community interested in these issues, and this symposium attracted about forty people for a day of…

May 15, 2012 · by David Campbell · photography, politics
Criticism

It has been quiet in these parts while I’ve been teaching in the US, but now that I’m back in the UK and in freelance mode, I’m looking forward to again writing here more regularly, trying to articulate the contexts of photography, multimedia and politics. Having been preoccupied with off-line responsibilities I’ve also had a…

March 23, 2012 · by David Campbell · photography, politics
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How should we think about the contribution photojournalism might make to the task of social change? Reflecting on the Kony2012 phenomenon I concluded with observations about the difficulty of specifying how political change comes about and our potential contribution to it. Thinking more about this, I recalled videos in which two of the best photographers…

March 16, 2012 · by David Campbell · media economy, politics
Social Flow

In the short history of social media, Kony2012 is now the most viral video ever, having reached 100 million views inside six days. Its success has been quickly examined by media analysts and some of the early findings are fascinating for what they reveal about the spread of information in the new media economy. The…

March 12, 2012 · by David Campbell · media economy, photography, politics
KONY2012

A week on from the “Kony 2012” video eruption, I want to take a step back and ask: what does this tells us about the media economy, what does it suggest about the state of activism, and how should we think about change in the face of global problems? I’m not going to add much…

February 29, 2012 · by David Campbell · More posts, photography, politics
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy visit

Before we can construct a meaningful account that traces possible links between visual representation, knowledge and action, we need to dispense with some conventional wisdoms that purport to explain how photographs work. One of the largest obstacles to be removed is the ‘compassion fatigue’ thesis…

February 27, 2012 · by David Campbell · Thought for the Week
TFTW8

TFTW…thought for the week…some quotes to inspire… The photograph, as it stands alone, presents merely the possibility of meaning. Only by its embeddedness in a concrete discourse situation can the photograph yield a clear semantic outcome. Alan Sekula, “On the Invention of Photographic Meaning,” in Thinking Photography, edited by Victor Burgin (London: Macmillan, 1982), p….

February 20, 2012 · by David Campbell · photography
WPP Aranda 2011

What can Samuel Aranda’s 2011 World Press Photo of the Year tell us about how we view photojournalism? What does the debate prompted by Aranda’s winning photograph tell us about the conventional way of understanding such images?

February 15, 2012 · by David Campbell · photography, Thought for the Week
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TFTW…thought for the week…some quotes to inspire… Representations do not imitate reality but are practices through which things take on meaning and value; to the extent that a representation is regarded as realistic, it is because it is so familiar it operates transparently…photography is one of the representational practices that has become so naturalized. Michael…

February 8, 2012 · by David Campbell · politics, Thinking Images
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Superbowl commercials are an American art form, inspiring blogs, analysis and audience interaction. Last Sunday, watching my first live Superbowl in some twenty years, one stood out – though for reasons somewhat different from the ensuing controversy. “Half time in America” – these ads even have their own names – is an ad for Chrysler…

January 16, 2012 · by David Campbell · Thought for the Week
TFTW6

TFTW…thought for the week…some quotes to inspire… A solitary image cannot testify to what is revealed through it, but must be attached to another image, another piece of information, another assertion or description, another grievance or piece of evidence, another broadcast, another transmitter. An image is only ever another statement in a regime of statements….

January 12, 2012 · by David Campbell · photography, politics
Continuing Promise 2011

The second anniversary of the Haiti earthquake has seen some excellent follow-up reporting on what the international aid effort has achieved (see The Global Post series, with photos by Ron Haviv, as well as this morning’s Guardian report and picture gallery amongst others). This focus on where the aid money has gone highlights one of the major…

January 10, 2012 · by David Campbell · photography, Thought for the Week
TFTW5

TFTW…thought for the week…some quotes to inspire… It seems that wherever we look in photography, we find contradictory impulses and opposing aims. The wide range of photographic applications [from police surveillance to liberal documentary] raises the possibility that photography has no governing characteristics at all save adaptability. Certain practices preserve the status quo and others…

January 9, 2012 · by David Campbell · photography, politics
Iran_38

Iran has a prominent place in America’s geopolitical imagination. The Shah assumed absolute power after a 1953 coup engineered by the UK and the USA removed Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, only to be overthrown twenty five years later in a revolution that created the Islamic Republic of Iran. Mutual animosity was secured through the 1979…

January 2, 2012 · by David Campbell · Thought for the Week
TFTW4

TFTW…thought for the week…some quotes to inspire… Photography is subversive not when it frightens, repels, or even stigmatizes, but when it is pensive, when it thinks. Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, trans. By Richard Howard (New York: Hill and Wang, 1981), p. 38. Thumbnail photo: Bill Gracey/Flickr.

January 1, 2012 · by David Campbell · media economy
Struggle_for_open_web_large

The struggle for the open web is going to be a big issue in 2012. Given the importance of the internet to creative producers, its something we should be paying a lot of attention to. And that means, first up, thinking about the implications of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) currently before the US…

December 16, 2011 · by David Campbell · media economy, photography
Leveraging the web

Will people pay for online content? There is a willingness to pay for quality content with lasting value…

December 12, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, Thought for the Week
TFTW3

TFTW…thought for the week…some quotes to inspire… Just as the novel, poetry, and the memoir have explored the permutations of memory, so too might the digital photograph evoke a more complex past. Rather than a single, inarguable reference point that is to thought to be truer than human recollection, it can serve as an element…

December 8, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, Thinking Images
Guang_Lu09

What is the power of photography? In the abstract, that is an impossible question to answer. There are many general claims about photography being able to ‘change the world’, but when it comes to evidence for such arguments, we know surprisingly little about how photographs actually work. There are clearly moments in which images can induce…

December 5, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, Thought for the Week
TFTW2

TFTW…thought for the week…some quotes to inspire… Representation is not the act of producing a visible form, but the act of offering an equivalent – something that speech does just as much as photography. The image is not the duplicate of a thing. It is a complex set of relations between the visible and the…

November 21, 2011 · by David Campbell · politics, Thought for the Week
Red

TFTW…thought for the week…some quotes to inspire… A critique is not a matter of saying that things are not right as they are. It is a matter of pointing out on what kinds of assumptions, what kinds of familiar, unchallenged, unconsidered modes of thought the practices that we accept rest…Criticism is a matter of flushing…

November 10, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, politics
Elusive Enemy

Last week The Guardian published an extraordinary report on how Al Qaeda is using aid to win the ‘hearts and minds’ of displaced Somalis in East Africa’s zone of food insecurity. Jamal Osman’s investigation – including a compelling eleven minute video – reveals how aid workers and medical units, including American and British citizens, are…

October 28, 2011 · by David Campbell · media economy, photography
Screen Shot 2011-11-30 at 10.35.07

Should some photo agencies become publishers and broadcasters? Last week I concluded the post on the issue’s surrounding Magnum’s archive of Libyan Secret Service pictures with the view that agencies miss an opportunity when they don’t provide the most comprehensive context of their stories in conjunction with their images. The challenges of the media economy mean…

October 21, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, politics, Thinking Images
Le Figaro

The extensive pictorial coverage of Gaddafi’s death yesterday takes us back to the question I posed, also in relation to Libya, at the end of August – when should we see the dead? There I wrote that generally the mainstream media operates in terms the idea of “taste and decency” thereby sanitising the coverage of…

October 18, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, politics
Magnum archive page

  Last week I asked Magnum Photos some questions about the Libyan Secret Service Archive Pictures on their site. I had been thinking about these images after conversations with Olivier Laurent of the British Journal of Photography about general issues arising from the use of found photographs. I recalled a Guardian report from earlier in the year reporting…

October 6, 2011 · by David Campbell · More posts, photography, politics
Dramatic staging

Photojournalism Behind the Scenes [ITA-ENG subs] from Ruben Salvadori on Vimeo. Ruben Salvadori’s video – “an auto-critical photo essay” – demonstrates clearly that when we see a conflict, what we see is the outcome of “conflict image production.” It’s like those still photographs which reveal photographers at work – Paul Lowe’s 1992 photograph of the Somalia…

September 25, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, politics, Thinking Images
Teheran

Iran marked it’s defense week last Thursday with a vast display of units and hardware. Among the photographs of the parade was this rather odd image. I saw it in print in the South China Morning Post, Reuters carried it in their spot news slideshow, and it was also captured in this UPI gallery of…

September 16, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography
IMG_3724

  Should we accept the oft-repeated view that nobody believes photographs anymore? Skepticism about the veracity of images is widespread. In a recent interview with Art Info, Nan Goldin recalled: I gave a talk at the Tate a couple of years ago, and I asked an audience of 200 people how many of them believed…

September 8, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, politics
Anthony_Suau_September_11_2001

  As the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001 approaches images of the event are being recycled and recirculated. Many of them are familiar, and the meaning of the event now seems fixed. But anniversaries are part of the process of fixing memory, and as they are repeated they can obscure the uncertainty that prevailed at…

September 5, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography
Hetherington_Sleeping_Soldiers

Sleeping Soldiers_single screen (2009) from Tim Hetherington on Vimeo. I’m publishing here a short article written earlier this year by Stephen Mayes and Tim Hetherington that explores the themes of aggression, masculinity, sex and war, and the way they informed Tim’s work. Entitled “The Theatre of War, or ‘La Petite Mort’,” the article was a…

August 30, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, politics, Thinking Images
AP

When should we see the dead? In this photograph of a Libyan rebel surveying a possible massacre site we are confronted with an unusually graphic portrayal of war dead. (This picture ran in The Guardian print edition on 29 August (pp. 14-15), appeared online, along with a similar image from the same photographer that can…

August 19, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, politics
Why Famine Persists

What is the point of critique, and how can it help produce better visual stories? According to Jonathan Jones (writing in the Guardian on 22 July) all the sophisticated critiques of photojournalism are pointless when it comes to picturing famine: It seems shocking that commentators…wasted their breath on the ethics of a photograph instead of…

July 18, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, politics
Africa_Brookes_Times

Last week’s post on ‘Famine iconography as a sign of failure‘ drew a very critical response from @foto8 on Twitter. I’ve again used Storify to collect the comments and offer a response to address the issues. Be sure to click on ‘Read More’ to see the whole stream. Further comments on this debate are welcome….

July 16, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, politics, Thinking Images
Africa_Brookes_Times

The homogenisation of ‘Africa’ – the rendering of the continent into one form. The anthropomorphisation of ‘Africa’ – the representation of the continent as one person. The infantilisation of ‘Africa’ – the image of the continent as a child. The impoverishment of ‘Africa’ – the construction of the continent as a desperate, poor, passive victim….

July 12, 2011 · by David Campbell · media economy, photography
Flooding

Should we be worried about image abundance in the contemporary world? In recent weeks I have heard a number of affirmative answers to this question. At both the University of Sunderland’s excellent “Versatile Image: Photography in the Age of Web 2.0” conference and the Les Rencontres d’Arles symposium on “Photography, the Internet and Social Networks,”…

July 4, 2011 · by David Campbell · multimedia
Laygate Stories home page

  ‘Laygate Stories’ is a multimedia project that portrays, in their own voices, the lives of those living and working in the Laygate area of South Shields on Tyneside, in the north-east of England. Creating new visual stories excites me, and its a pleasure to again be working collaboratively with Peter Fryer on this project, which is part…

June 27, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, politics, Thinking Images
Gona_Aziz

Do local photographers offer a distinctive perspective on their worlds? That question was prompted by reading Patrick Witty’s interesting account of a photography workshop held in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq earlier this month. The workshop was organized by Metrography, the first Iraqi photo agency, and sponsored by Washington-based IREX International. Witty writes that the workshop was “the brainchild of Stephanie Sinclair, Sebastian Meyer…

June 21, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, politics
Lock_and_Henner_2006

Last week’s post on photojournalism’s ‘foreign fixation’ and the relative neglect of the big domestic stories prompted a debate in both the post comments and on Twitter, especially from Marcus Bleasdale. Feedback is one of the great virtue’s of social media, and I always get a lot from people’s responses. Because I think this is a really…

June 15, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, politics
Lock_and_Henner_2006

The US presidential election began this week. Although polling day is still 18 months away, yesterdays Republican candidates’ debate in New Hampshire marks the start of the race. As ever, the economy, jobs, healthcare and education will be key issues, with more people worried about these than war. In Britain, along with immigration and multiculturalism, the picture…

June 13, 2011 · by David Campbell · Back Catalogue, photography, politics
Back_Catalogue_3

Welcome to the third in “The Back Catalogue” series of posts… I’ve been actively writing online for nearly three years now, and one of the challenges of the blog format is how to keep old posts with content that is potentially still relevant from slipping off the radar. And because this site combines my research with…

June 7, 2011 · by David Campbell · media economy, photography
New media landscape (3)

  The disruptive power of the internet has produced a new ecology of information. As outlined in the first post of this series, this is the inescapable big picture for anyone engaged in creative practice. This new ecology of information incorporates some hard realities for those of us seeking to support creative practice. In the…

May 30, 2011 · by David Campbell · media economy, photography
New media landscape (2)

  The disruptive power of the internet has made ‘community’ an essential concept in the new media landscape. A community is a group of people who share the similar interests, concerns or pursuits. They form around common purposes or practices. As argued in the first post of this series, the internet ‘disintermediates’ because it collapses…

May 27, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, politics, Thinking Images
Ratko_Mladic_arrest_2011

    This photograph of former Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic after his arrest was (as Tom Keenan observed on Facebook) too long in coming but nevertheless still satisfying. In many ways its hard to equate the pathetic visage on display here with the barbaric deeds Mladic’s forces committed in the Bosnian War between 1992-95, with…

May 23, 2011 · by David Campbell · media economy
New media landscape (1)

Change in the media landscape is constant. Everyone involved in the production of creative content – photographers, journalists, writers, and musicians, as well as those who deal in those products – knows that nothing is as it was. Too much of the current debate about how creative practitioners can cope with these upheavals proceeds without…

May 16, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, politics, Thinking Images
Guardian 16 May 2011

Contemporary news photographs are chosen less for their descriptive function and more for their capacity to provide symbolic markers to familiar interpretations and conventional narratives. Although news images can illustrate the story they accompany, it is often the case that the photograph published with a story does not depict the specifics of that story. This…

May 13, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, politics
Life_1965

What would a critical photographic response to the war in Afghanistan involve? The is no single answer to that question, but having both contributed to and learnt from a workshop on the Burke + Norfolk show at the Tate Gallery in London this past week, it is one we have to pursue. To begin to…

May 6, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, politics, Thinking Images
P050111PS-0210

The killing of Osama Bin-Laden is another of those issues in which politics is located in or around the image. However, the debate about the rights or wrongs of releasing the post-mortem photograph obscures the fact that any such image will inevitably have been staged. I’ve read the many arguments calling for the release of…

April 26, 2011 · by David Campbell · media economy, photography, politics, Thinking Images
Syria_Reuters

Both the scale of the protests in Syria, and the violence of the regime’s response, is growing. Yet photojournalism is able to offer little about this vital story. While we have seen powerful coverage of events in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and even Yemen, there seem to be few if any photojournalists – either freelance or associated…

April 21, 2011 · by David Campbell · multimedia, photography
Tim Hetherington

Tributes to Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros have been widespread and heartfelt after the devastating news of their untimely deaths in Libya. The injuries to Guy Martin and Michael Christopher Brown were also shocking, and hopefully they will recover fully. Photojournalism Links has curated the numerous memorials, including many fascinating videos in which Tim and…

April 19, 2011 · by David Campbell · media economy, photography
crowd2

Crowd funding is growing as a means to support creative projects. Back in January I discussed the theory and practice of crowd funding through a critique of Larry Towell’s ‘Crisis in Afghanistan’ project, followed by an update on my experience as a contributor. Here I want to provide a review of how crowd funding is…

April 11, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, politics, Thinking Images
Congo_Paula Allen_thumbnail

  Paula Allen’s photograph of the women who helped build a centre for rape survivors in Bukavu, eastern Congo, is a bold depiction that combines celebration and power. As the double-page lead to Katherine Viner’s story on the City of Joy project in Saturday’s Guardian Weekend magazine, Allen’s photograph departs from much of the conventional reportage of…

April 8, 2011 · by David Campbell · Back Catalogue, media economy, photography
Back Catalogue 2

Welcome to the second in “The Back Catalogue” series of posts… I’ve been actively writing online for nearly three years now, and one of the challenges of the blog format is how to keep old posts with content that is potentially still relevant from slipping off the radar. And because this site combines my research with…

April 5, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography
Burke + Norfolk

Simon Norfolk’s new project on Afghanistan opens at the Tate Gallery in London on 6 May, and comprises new work exhibited alongside the nineteenth century Irish photographer, John Burke. There will be a book forthcoming from Dewi Lewis and – full disclosure – I was commissioned to write a short essay for this publication. As…

March 30, 2011 · by David Campbell · media economy, photography
Money

Newspapers in the US and UK continue to struggle with growing debt, declining circulation and falling advertising revenue. In the search for additional sources of revenue, new schemes for paid content are being implemented. (For an excellent overview of the issues, listen to WNYC’s On the Media podcast from January 28). After nearly two years planning,…

March 25, 2011 · by David Campbell · multimedia, photography
Libya_pjs

World Press Photo announced the shortlist for its inaugural multimedia award this week, with three narrative stories and three interactive projects. Coming after six weeks of monumental global events, it got me thinking: where are the multimedia stories from the revolution in Egypt, the disaster in Japan and the conflict in Libya? Recalling Paul Conroy’s March…

March 22, 2011 · by David Campbell · media economy, photography, politics, Thinking Images
Libya_GT

More than 100 newspaper front pages are running Goran Tomasevic’s photographs of the airstrikes on Libya. These scans have been made and circulated today by Thomson Reuters, and demonstrate how particular images attract the eye of picture editors around the world. His most featured photograph shows “a bomb from an allied aircraft explod[ing] among vehicles…

March 17, 2011 · by David Campbell · media economy, multimedia, photography
Chung_900x300

Dan Chung spent four days covering the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Based in Beijing as the Guardian’s videojournalist, Dan runs the DSLR Newshooter blog and is the video tutor for the MA in International Multimedia Journalism I contribute to. Upon returning to Beijing on Thursday Dan came into class to give an immediate, first-hand account of his…

March 6, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, Thinking Images
teenage girl gang members with knifes - model released

The Daily Mail is regarded as the paper of ‘middle England’. It covers prominently the social dangers perceived to threaten that nebulous identity. This Saturday it ran a feature headlined “Bad Girls,” driven by statistics on female criminality in Britain: While criminal offences by young men have fallen, those committed by girls aged 10 to…

February 28, 2011 · by David Campbell · Back Catalogue, photography, politics
archive

Welcome to “The Back Catalogue,” the first in an occasional series of themed posts… I’ve been actively writing online for nearly three years now, and one of the challenges of the blog format is how to keep old posts with content that is potentially still relevant from slipping off the radar. And because this site combines…

February 21, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, politics, Thinking Images
Kevin Frayer

Different perspectives on the landscape of war in Afghanistan do exist. Two weeks ago The Frame (the photo blog of Californian newspaper The Sacramento Bee) published “Helmand Province from above,” nineteen black and white images from Kevin Frayer. Kevin Frayer is a Canadian photojournalist currently working as the Associated Press Chief Photographer for South Asia….

February 14, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, Thinking Images
Aisha

Jodi Bieber has won the overall 2011 World Press Photo award for her portrait of Bibi Aisha, the young Afghan women disfigured in an act of punishment (above left). Bieber outlines her thoughts on making the photograph in a brief interview here. Any image selected from over 100,000 entries produced by 5,847 photographers is going to draw…

February 11, 2011 · by David Campbell · media economy, photography
Larry_Towell_2010

My postman brought an envelope from Larry Towell this week. Sent from Canada, it contained the 6×4 inch photograph (above) offered to those who pledged US$25 towards Larry’s “Crisis in Afghanistan” project. Personally captioned “International Committee of the Red Cross, Kabul, Afghanistan 2010” it was also personally signed. In my original post reviewing Larry’s Kickstarter-funded…

February 8, 2011 · by David Campbell · media economy, photography, politics, Thinking Images
Egypt

Thinking Images - an occasional series on some of the week’s visuals and the thoughts they prompt… Hundreds of thousands of protestors have returned to Cairo’s Tahrir Square demonstrating that the demand for change in Egypt is as strong as ever. Today the scene has been peaceful, but two weeks of extensive coverage from a corps of…

January 26, 2011 · by David Campbell · media economy, photography, politics
LT_KS

Larry Towell is one of the most accomplished contemporary photojournalists. Two weeks ago I became a backer of his “Crisis in Afghanistan” project, pledging $25 through Kickstarter. Today was the deadline for Larry to attract backers, and with 143 supporters contributing $14,007, the project exceeded its target and is up and running. I became a…

January 21, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, politics
porn2

‘Development pornography’. ‘Poverty porn’. ‘Disaster porn’. ‘Ruin porn’. ‘War porn’. ‘Famine porn’. ‘Stereotype porn’. When it comes to the representation of atrocity and suffering, the charge of pornography abounds (see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here). What does it mean to use this term so frequently in relation to so many different situations?…

January 13, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, politics, Thinking Images
Haiti

Thinking Images - an occasional series on some of the week’s visuals and the thoughts they prompt… Caption: Orich Florestal (left), 24 and Rosemond Altidon, 22, stand on the edge of their partially destroyed apartment of Port-au-Prince January 9, 2011. Photo: Allison Shelley/Reuters. One year ago this week a massive earthquake struck Haiti killing 230,000 people. Media…

January 7, 2011 · by David Campbell · photography, politics, Thinking Images
Sudan_1

Thinking Images - an occasional series on some of the week’s visuals and the thoughts they prompt… Sudan faces a momentous week beginning Sunday 9 January. A referendum in the south, mandated as part of the 2005 comprehensive peace agreement, could lead to the division of the country and the creation of a new state. Voting will…

January 5, 2011 · by David Campbell · media economy, photography
Grants

The photography world is full of awards, grants and competitions. Many of these reward work already done. But where do you go if you want funding for a new project? Who will fund a visual story you are planning but have not yet commenced? On a new grants resources page I have collected a range…

December 17, 2010 · by David Campbell · More posts, photography, politics
AP-David Guttenfelder

  The US-led war in Afghanistan is one of the longest running conflicts in America’s history. After more than nine years, the US and its allies have been fighting in Afghanistan longer than Soviet Union was by the time of its 1989 withdrawal. The war in Afghanistan has also surpassed the formal duration of the…

December 9, 2010 · by David Campbell · photography, politics
Assange_Frontline_Club_July_2010_slider

The global controversy surrounding Wikileaks release of US diplomatic cables is a moment in which media, politics, visual culture and war intersect in complex ways. There has been no shortage of good commentary on the story, as evidenced in the range of views curated by Alex Madrigal’s post “how to think about Wikileaks”. What I…

November 26, 2010 · by David Campbell · photography, politics, Thinking Images
Gaith_A_Ahad_Taliban

Thinking Images - an occasional series on some of the week’s visuals and the thoughts they prompt… The visual landscape of the war in Afghanistan is primarily, and necessarily, a product of embedded reporting. However, because it is easier to be embedded with NATO military forces than the Taliban, we have only ever received an unavoidably partial…

November 18, 2010 · by David Campbell · Featured, photography
narrative

In telling visual stories about the world, photography is narrating the world. But what is a narrative and how is it constructed?

November 12, 2010 · by David Campbell · photography, politics, Thinking Images
Student protest

Thinking Images - an occasional series on a small selection of the week’s visuals and the thoughts they prompt… The vast majority of news photographs are illustrative – designed to provide a visual punctuation point for the story they accompany. They can arise from an event the day before, as in Thursday’s Guardian front page image of…

November 7, 2010 · by David Campbell · photography, politics, Thinking Images
Camp 4 Mecca arrow Shackle eye

Thinking Images - an occasional series on a small selection of the week’s visuals and the thoughts they prompt… More documentary photographs in the mainstream press – Guardian Weekend has surprised us again! This week they have published work from a major project, Edmund Clark’s “Guantánamo: If the light goes out.” Although Guardian Weekend has the all-important…

November 4, 2010 · by David Campbell · photography, politics
Sem_Presser_feature

For a long time I have argued that ‘photojournalism’ – that broad swathe of photographic practice that tells visual stories about the world, and which can include documentary, editorial, news or social photography – has a particular responsibility and a particular opportunity to both represent the world better and make better worlds imaginable. It is…

November 1, 2010 · by David Campbell · photography, Thinking Images
Pannack

Thinking Images - an occasional series on a small selection of the week’s visuals and the thoughts they prompt… Here in the UK, last Saturday’s Guardian Weekend magazine contained something a little bit unusual – two photo essays that many would regard as excellent examples of contemporary photojournalism and/or documentary photography (see my comments on how the…

October 27, 2010 · by David Campbell · media economy, photography
making documentary possible

Finding the money to enable new photographic work is one of the most pressing issues practitioners currently face. Editorial paymasters have been in decline for a very long time, forcing those who want to pursue challenging and time-consuming projects to seek other means of support. Now the Internet’s disruption of the media economy has quelled…

October 24, 2010 · by David Campbell · photography, politics, Thinking Images
John Moore

Thinking Images - an occasional series on a small selection of the week’s visuals and the thoughts they prompt…   John Moore’s long term project Detained – covering prison sites run by US military and intelligence agencies as part of the global war on terror – was featured on the Lens blog this week. Moore’s work is…

October 20, 2010 · by David Campbell · photography, politics
Malawi Feature 2002

As appropriations of suffering, photographs of famine victims are affective rather than simply illustrative. They are designed to appeal emotionally to viewers and connect them with subjects in a particular way rather than just offer a description of some person or place. The message is that someone is suffering, and that we should be sympathetic…

October 15, 2010 · by David Campbell · photography, politics, Thinking Images
Chile_miners_media

Thinking Images – an occasional series on a small selection of the week’s visuals and the thoughts they prompt… You would have to a cold-hearted person not to have been moved in some way at some time by the rescue of the Chilean miners. But there are always other dimensions to such stories. During the…

October 11, 2010 · by David Campbell · media economy
Ongoing_revolution

The revolutions transforming the media economy continue apace. In the year since I published my five part series on these changes (beginning here and ending here) we have seen more evidence of the overall direction of change. Reviewing my notes from 2010 here are some of the standout developments to date: 1. Things remain grim…

October 5, 2010 · by David Campbell · media economy, photography
State of photojournalism

Photography has always been associated with death. The French painter Paul Delaroche is supposed to have proclaimed, “From today, painting is dead” after he saw his first daguerreotype. Whatever the provenance of that quote, miniature portrait painting was replaced by new photographic technologies, even though their long exposure times meant, as Geoffrey Batchen has written,…

June 1, 2010 · by David Campbell · photography, politics
New visuals of Africa (1)

What is the visual story that needs to be told about Africa? Is there a pictorial strategy that can account for one billion people, living in 53 countries that occupy 12 million square miles, speaking two thousand languages, embodying multiple cultures and numerous ethnicities, with manifold intersections with our globalised world? Would we even ask…

May 13, 2010 · by David Campbell · media economy, photography
Thinking Freely

Everything costs something and no body wants to work for nothing. This statement of the obvious drives those disturbed by the impact of the Internet on business models for information industries. Individuals declare that they won’t give their work away, critics claim someone has to pay for content, and insiders (like the editor of Photo…

April 13, 2010 · by David Campbell · photography
Famine photographs

The photographic reporting of famine, especially in ‘Africa’, continues to replicate stereotypes. Malnourished children, either pictured alone in passive poses or with their mothers at hand, continue to be the obvious subjects of our gaze. What should drive our concern about this persistent portrayal? This morning I came across an example that demonstrates how criticism…

April 1, 2010 · by David Campbell · multimedia
Migrant workers return home for Chinese New Year

Earlier this month I was delighted to announce that “Living in the Shadows,” the multimedia story on China’s internal migrants I produced for Sharron Lovell, was named among the winners in The Society of American Business Editors and Writers annual Best in Business Journalism competition. Now we have heard it has gone one better… The Global…

March 30, 2010 · by David Campbell · education, media economy

Recent changes in media brought on by developments in the web, its impact on established news outlets, and the rise of social media have dramatically altered the ecology of information. Its time to starting thinking what this means for universities. Last year I wrote a series of posts on “revolutions in the media economy” (see…

March 25, 2010 · by David Campbell · photography, politics

If we wanted a clear pointer to the political power of documentary photography, and a stark lesson in how pictures that pose difficult questions can provoke authorities, we need look no further than the vital work of Shahidul Alam and the Drik Gallery in Bangladesh. Photo credit: Shahidul Alam/Drik Shahidul’s new exhibition “Crossfire” examines extra…

March 17, 2010 · by David Campbell · media economy, photography

The Digital Economy Bill (DEB), now being rushed through the British parliament, embodies an impoverished understanding of the web and its implications for creativity. The DEB will put in place a system to defend the position of established media groups (the recording giants of the music and film industries) and individuals who have become fabulously…

March 16, 2010 · by David Campbell · photography

A disaster. A lone child. Barefoot. In a barren landscape. The apparent absence of social structures. This photograph recycles all the main elements in the dominant representation of ‘Africa’. As James Ferguson writes in his important book Global Shadows, “for all that has changed, ‘Africa’ continues to be described through a series of lacks and…

March 5, 2010 · by David Campbell · multimedia, photography

I hope you will excuse this tiny bit of trumpet blowing, but I was excited to hear this morning that “Living in the Shadows,” the multimedia story on China’s internal migrants I produced for Sharron Lovell, has won an award in the United States. It was named as one of the winners in The Society…

March 3, 2010 · by David Campbell · photography

Back in December last year I posted a commentary on World Press Photo’s new rule on ‘manipulation’ of submitted imagery. The main point concerned the ambiguity of what “currently accepted standards in the industry” meant as the governing criterion. I concluded that “for the WPP clause to be effective, the organization is going to have…

February 24, 2010 · by David Campbell · photography

Here is something not to be missed – in early March Ed Kashi will be in London for a busy schedule of talks about photojournalism, activism and his project on the Niger Delta . Between Monday 8 March and Tuesday 16 March Ed will be speaking at a number of venues across town – all…

February 21, 2010 · by David Campbell · photography

In “Please Give Generously” – an excellent documentary broadcast on BBC Radio 4 this weekend – Fergal Keane examined the relationship between charities and the media, in which charities want to raise their profile as well as money, the media needs stories, and both traffic in drama. Britain is home to 166,000 charities that last…

January 8, 2010 · by David Campbell · photography

Tod Papergeorge is one of the most insightful photographers around. Interviewed by Mark Durden for foto8 last November (I’m catching up on some reading while snowed in), he offered some interesting views on photography, documentary and truth. Photo: Tod Papergeorge, ‘Central Park, 1978′ Durden asked Papageorge if he thought his work was part of what…

December 22, 2009 · by David Campbell · media economy, multimedia, photography
Revolutions in the media economy (5)

This has been a momentous year for media. In my previous four posts on the revolutions in the media economy, I have used the present uncertainty to take a fresh look at the past many now view nostalgically. This critical view demonstrated that newspapers have always been commercial enterprises rather than altruistic associations, they were…

December 6, 2009 · by David Campbell · photography

World Press Photo has included a new clause about the manipulation of imagery in their entry rules for 2010. This clause says: The content of the image must not be altered. Only retouching which conforms to currently accepted standards in the industry is allowed. The jury is the ultimate arbiter of these standards and may…

· by David Campbell · education, media economy

Over the past few months I have been part of an ad hoc working group with colleagues from Newcastle University that has been exploring the future of academic publishing. Two problematics framed our analysis: how are changes initiated by the digital economy affecting academic journals and how might the editorial team of a top flight…

November 27, 2009 · by David Campbell · photography, politics

Being prepared to debate issues with fundamentalists is hard. And the revisionists who seek to change our understanding of the war in Bosnia by focusing on the pictures of the camps in the Prijedor region are certainly fundamentalists. They have their story and they are sticking to it no matter what; their commitment to evidence…

November 14, 2009 · by David Campbell · photography, politics

Following on from the controversy surrounding Noam Chomsky’s October 2009 Amnesty International lecture in Belfast (see here), I have been receiving new information on interviews Professor Noam Chomsky has given in recent years where he discusses, amongst other issues, the 1992 ITN television reports of the Bosnian Serb camps at Omarska and Trnopolje. My correspondence…

November 9, 2009 · by David Campbell · photography, politics

The trial of Radovan Karadzic for genocide in Bosnia has begun in The Hague despite the accused’s boycott of the proceedings. Amidst all the legitimate issues this trial will provoke, one problem stands out – the Karadzic trial has already become another plinth upon which the revisionists who seek to deny the systematic ethnic cleansing…

October 1, 2009 · by David Campbell · education, media economy
Revolutions in the media economy (4)

The social media revolution I have been exploring in this series of posts has disrupted journalism and challenged photojournalism. That is because – as Clay Shirkey makes clear in Here Comes Everybody – the web has not simply introduced a new competitor into the old media ecosystem; it has created a fundamentally different ecosystem. At…

September 20, 2009 · by David Campbell · media economy, photography
Revolutions in the media economy (3)

How do the revolutions in the media economy (detailed in the first and second post of this series) affect photojournalism? Given both the crisis in the distribution of information and the new opportunities for the structure of information, what futures are there for photojournalism? This assumes ‘photojournalism’ is an accepted category of photographic practice.  It…

September 16, 2009 · by David Campbell · media economy
Revolutions in the media economy (2)

Is there actually a crisis in news and journalism? We must not ignore the historical perspective that locates the current problems in the media economy, as my previous post detailed, but Jeff Jarvis is right – if we start from the assumption that there is a crisis for all concerned we will ask the wrong…

September 14, 2009 · by David Campbell · media economy
Revolutions in the media economy

The way news and information is reported and delivered to citizens is undergoing profound transformations, especially in the United States and Europe. In the last twelve months commentary has been rife with claims about “the death of newspapers,” the end of journalism, and the impact this crisis will allegedly have on democratic politics. In a…

September 11, 2009 · by David Campbell · photography

Ten days on from learning that the Associated Press had forced Stuart Franklin to withdraw his essay about Gaza from part of the Noorderlicht exhibtion, questions and concerns remain about this affair. The photographic press has failed to unpack the whole story, although the British Journal of Photography ran an updated account on 9 September….

September 4, 2009 · by David Campbell · photography

The controversy surrounding the forced withdrawal of Stuart Franklin’s essay in the Noorderlicht Photofestival exhibition of Palestinian photojournalism has received some coverage in both Photo District News and the British Journal of Photography. Those reports don’t delve very deep into this issue. As such, there remain a number of outstanding questions that, given the importance…

September 1, 2009 · by David Campbell · photography

Do photographs speak? Do they have an intrinsic politics? Or do they rely on the text that accompanies them for political meaning? An unfolding controversy about the photojournalism of Palestinian photographers contracted to western picture agencies is broaching these questions. As I’ve written here, although many claimed that Israel’s media controls meant few pictures of…

August 29, 2009 · by David Campbell · sport

The Sydney Cricket Ground, 6 January 2008. It is the final moments of the fifth day of the second test against India. In the last over, part-time spinner Michael Clarke takes three wickets to pull of an unlikely win that gives Australia the series with one match to play. Having just won 16 tests in…

July 10, 2009 · by David Campbell · photography

The relationship between photographs and text in the construction of political understanding is often complex and frequently unclear. Although news photographs regularly present themselves as windows illustrating the world, the articles, captions and headlines with which they are associated can bind them into meanings at odds with both their pictorial content and the accompanying textual…

July 5, 2009 · by David Campbell · photography

The Observer Magazine has a cover story today (“A Life in Ruins“) about the aftermath of the Israeli invasion of Gaza. It details the on-going suffering, and is illustrated with Antonio Olmos’s portraits of Gazans living in their destroyed houses. His photograph of Shifa Salman (below) is a double page spread on the inside, with…

June 5, 2009 · by David Campbell · photography, politics
Photographing the catastrophe of Gaza

Israel’s three-week war against Gaza was a devastating assault. Retaliating to Hamas rocket attacks, Israel’s military campaign caused the death of some 1,300 Palestinians and the destruction of thousands of buildings. The story of this operation dominated the world’s media in January 2009, yet many felt that the reality of the conflict had been hidden…

June 2, 2009 · by David Campbell · photography

For most of us ‘Tiananmen’ conjures up the image of the lone citizen standing in front of the tank. This iconic picture as been the sign around which memory of the massacre twenty years ago coalesces.  However, in today’s Guardian novelist Ma Jian writes in honour of the thousands who were killed. It is a…

May 22, 2009 · by David Campbell · photography
Embedded in Afghanistan

Embedding photojournalists with combat units was one of the military’s greatest victories in the Iraq war. Narrowing their focus in time and space to the unit they were with produced images putting brave soldiers front and center, with both context and victims out of range. Now, with the Obama administration’s “Af-Pak” strategy being questioned, we…

May 21, 2009 · by David Campbell · education

Universities increasingly like to think of themselves as businesses, demanding flexible and entrepreneurial approaches from their staff. This is usually a fancy way of saying ‘do more with less’, and it’s said in numerous meetings, working groups and review panels that produce endless audits, reviews and strategy plans. Often it seems like we plan more…

May 13, 2009 · by David Campbell · multimedia

There’s a buzz about Twitter and I’ve decided to try it out (@davidc7) to see what’s behind this excitement. Twitter styles itself as a social networking tool that circulates to your followers answers to the question “What are you doing?” I’m not much interested in either sending or receiving that sort of stuff, but if…

April 29, 2009 · by David Campbell · photography

The issues surrounding photographic meaning, manipulation and Photoshop have been prominent recently (see my previous posts here and here, with some updates amongst the comments for each). Via Fred Ritchin’s After Photography (see his 24 April post) comes news of a Swedish government project Girlpower dealing with sexism in advertising. One element is a magazine…

April 25, 2009 · by David Campbell · politics

The Israel Defense Forces have completed five investigations into claims of war crimes during the war on Gaza and concluded, unsurprisingly, that those claims are unfounded. As an IDF spokesperson said: “The bottom line is that the IDF conducted itself in an appropriate manner within the limits of international law.” Given the points raised in…

April 23, 2009 · by David Campbell · photography

Some visual strategies are remarkably persistent, and few more persistent than those employed by humanitarian aid organizations when illustrating their appeals and campaign literature. We documented this in relation to food shortages in Africa as part of the Imaging Famine project. You know the pictures without even seeing them – the photographs of mothers and…

April 17, 2009 · by David Campbell · photography

Photography’s anxiety about truth, manipulation and reality has been on show recently. In different ways and from different contexts, people have been asking: “how much Photoshop is too much”? From the realm of fashion, French Elle is being celebrated for running a cover story in which the models photographs have not been ‘Photoshopped’ (thereby confirming,…

April 8, 2009 · by David Campbell · photography

“The underlying meaning of the attack on the Gaza Strip, or at least its final consequence, appears to be one of creating terror without mercy to anyone.” That is the conclusion of an independent study jointly commissioned by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel and the Palestinian Medical Relief Society. It chimes with The Guardian’s investigation into…

April 7, 2009 · by David Campbell · multimedia

As I wrote in today’s photographic post on Afghanistan, John D. McHugh’s multimedia series Six Months in Afghanistan offers some of the best visual insights into the military realities of that conflict. McHugh, in a session chaired by Roger Tooth of The Guardian at London’s Fontline Club last week, also provides a series of good…

· by David Campbell · photography

The visualization of the war against the Taliban has stuck closely to the conventional understanding of the conflict in Afghanistan. With few exceptions, photojournalism has focused on the military struggles of international forces as they combat an ‘elusive’ enemy. Starting with stories like Ron Haviv’s Road to Kabul, and evident in the contributions to the…

March 20, 2009 · by David Campbell · photography

Photojournalism’s representation of war is often standardized, familiar, even clichéd. Regardless of the time or place it can seem like we have seen it before, regularly and repeatedly. But if we always approach the problem from the same vantage point – asking how the event is represented – we run the risk of missing vital…

March 17, 2009 · by David Campbell · politics

Early indications about the emerging Obama doctrine in foreign policy are positive. As Jonathan Freedland wrote in the Guardian, repudiation of the Bush legacy, some plain talking and a few imaginative diplomatic initiatives are all good.  But last week there was a disturbing turn, in the withdrawal of Charles Freeman’s appointment to the National Intelligence…

February 23, 2009 · by David Campbell · photography

We know photographs can be false yet we want them to be true. Indeed, the desire for photographic veracity has persisted, perhaps even intensified, even as knowledge about image manipulation becomes more widespread. Reflecting on the Oscar ceremonies, MediaGuardian has documented the widespread use of Photoshop to enhance celebrity photographs in fashion and gossip magazines….

February 13, 2009 · by David Campbell · education

I’ve just caught up with a remarkable speech by the Australian Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, who is responsible for higher education for the country’s still new Labor government. Addressing the National Press Club last September on the topic of innovation, he spoke not of technology or economics, but of the arts, humanities…

February 9, 2009 · by David Campbell · sport

When Sky ran this advertisement for their cricket coverage in the weekend papers… [singlepic id=58 w=320 h=240 float=] they didn’t realise how right they were… [singlepic id=59 w=320 h=240 float=] It was sweet…England 51 all out at Sabina Park…sweet indeed.

February 8, 2009 · by David Campbell · photography

The death of photography is something that is often proclaimed. Of course, such an announcement is problematic because what is this thing called “photography”? It is a concept so broad, encompassing everything from the art image to the advertising campaign, from the hard-hitting news photo to the long-term documentary project, that any declaration of its…

January 27, 2009 · by David Campbell · politics

How one thinks about Israel’s war on Gaza depends on where one begins the story. For conservatives like Alan Dershowitz, Hamas declared war against Israel with its rocket attacks in late 2008, meaning that Israel had the right under the UN charter (despite its long history of ignoring UN Security Council resolutions) to take whatever…

January 26, 2009 · by David Campbell · multimedia

The media landscape is changing radically. When The Guardian (rightly) wins a Broadcast News award for its July 2008 video on Zimbabwe’s rigged election – which was posted on the newspaper’s web site before being shown on BBC television – then we have proof that the barriers between print, on-line and television are being blurred…

January 25, 2009 · by David Campbell · politics

It was all about the expectations. Would Obama be true to the progressive ethos of his campaign, or would entering office dull the prospects for change? At the end of week one – too early to offer any definitive conclusions, to be sure – things are looking unexpectedly good. Obama was never going to be…