Ocean waves stained red with blood crash ashore as inhabitants of the Faroe Islands catch and slaughter pilot whales (Globicephala melaena) during the traditional “Grindadrap” (whale hunting in Faroese) near the capital Torshavn, on November 22, 2011. The Faroese are descendents of Vikings, and pilot whales have been a central part of their diet for more than 1,000 years. They crowd the animals into a bay and kill them. “Grindadrap” whaling is not done for commercial purposes, the meat can not be sold and is divided evenly between members of the local community. (Reuters/Andrija Ilic)

Kodak Denies Film Discontinuation Rumous


Kodak has denied that it has discontinued a series of films, telling BJP that it has, instead, modified the way it distributes them

Following rumours that Kodak had discontinued a large series of films - including the T-Max 400, Tri-X Pan and Elite Chrome - the Rochester-based firm has confirmed to BJP that it will continue to offer these films, but in different packages.

In an email to BJP, a spokeswoman says: ”We have only discontinued the ways we package the[se] films and the way we list those packages as catalog items.” She adds: “We have not discontinued the films themselves.”

The films affected by the change are the T-Max 400 120, which won’t be available to purchase in single rolls but will now be sold in “propacks” of five rolls, says the spokeswoman. Similarly, the Tri-X Pan 120 400 films will also be packaged in propacks of five rolls.

Kodak’s Max 400 rolls of 12 frames will cease to be offered, with the firm choosing to only market rolls of 24 frames. These rolls will be available to purchase in packs of four in the US, and in singles and packs of three throughout the rest of the world.

Also affected is Kodak’s BW400cn packs of three rolls, which will now be sold in single packs, says the spokeswoman.

However, Kodak has confirmed that it will cease to offer the Elite Chrome 100/36 film. “This film has been discontinued,” the spokeswoman confirmed, before adding that Kodak’s “suggested replacement is the E100G 135-36 or Elite Chrome 100 Extra Color / EBX 135-36.

The rumours came several days after Kodak confirmed that it had sold its sensor business, and was now looking to part with its Gallery - an online photo-sharing facility - as it seeks cash to help fund its digital makeover.

For more on Kodak’s range of films, visit www.kodak.com.


WSJ: How An Image Becomes An Icon


We live in an age of instant celebrity and frenetic branding. Companies repeatedly re-brand and change their logos, often at great expense and frequently to no good effect. The Holy Grail is to achieve enduring and immediate recognizability. The ultimate aspiration is to match the Coca-Cola logo (invented in 1886) and bottle (designed in 1915), or to emulate the more recent golden “M” of McDonald’s (1968) and the “swoosh” of Nike (1971).

In my recent book, “Christ to Coke. How Image Becomes Icon”, I look at 11 representative images from art, politics, the commercial world and science that have achieved the highest level of iconic status. Is there a magic formula for branders? If I could I would keep it secret, and sell my services very very expensively! But there is no sure-fire formula; no fixed set of characteristics that ensure success. However, we can learn varied and complex lessons from the extraordinary life stories of mega-successful images.

1. What is an iconic image? Iconic images transcend time, place and even original function.

“Iconic” is now a much over-used word. Somebody who is passingly famous is described as iconic. The images with which I am concerned are more than just very famous. They have an astonishing degree of universal recognition, taking on diverse meanings as they are transmitted across cultures. The most indelible of them act as cult objects.

The earliest icons were generated to serve religious devotion. Eikon, the Greek word for image, entered modern currency as the name for the authorized images of Christ and the saints in Orthodox Christianity. This devotional aspect persists in many later icons. In the “posterized” portrait by Jim Fitzpatrick, Che Guevara has been transformed over the years from a Soviet-style Communist revolutionary into a saintly martyr for idealistic youth.

Rulers and dominant entities typically go to great lengths to establish an authoritative image, redolent of their supreme power and ubiquitous presence. Sometimes a symbolic proxy does the job, like the regal lion, which was adopted by MGM as the snarling emblem of their Hollywood kingdom.

Even the icons of modern science, DNA and E=mc², have acquired a quasi-religious dimension, as arcane formulations intoned by the high priests of genetics and physics. The more science itself becomes inaccessible to most of us, the more the status of the priesthood is enhanced. The older Einstein, with his halo of wild white hair, plays the role of prophet superbly.

2. Types There are distinct types of iconic image. I group them roughly into 11 types in ‘Christ to Coke’.

The “rules” that apply to each type are somewhat different. The Coke bottle obviously does not work in the same way as Nick Ut’s harrowing photograph of the napalmed girl fleeing in heat-seared agony along Route 1 in Vietnam. Oddly, a photograph can achieve the highest fame without our ever knowing name of the author.

The Mona Lisa would hardly have reached its dominant position amongst iconic paintings independently of its artist’s name. Would Dan Brown’s book—”The Da Vinci Code”—have sold as well entitled the Michelangelo Code?

But how many people know that Earl Dean of the Root Bottling Company in Terra Haute was the designer of the prototype Coca-Cola bottle in 1915? General rules are elusive.

Some types of images are specific—like Lisa and Che—while some are generic, such as the heart shape. The generic ones tend to seep gradually into general consciousness.

The heart shape appeared on playing cards and became the religious symbol of the sacred heart, before becoming the ubiquitous symbol of love. It takes a designer of genius, like Milton Glaser, to refresh its power in the service of a specific cause. We all know I♥NY. But New York largely surrendered the “Big Apple” to Steve Jobs.

Some types of icon are very much sui generis. Flags are a type all of their own. Those that burst forth from the throng are not the boring tricolours. The famed Stars and Stripes and the Union Jack arose from complex, accumulative histories. The swastika of the Nazis and hammer and sickle of the USSR are memorable as great pieces of graphic design. Who knows the current Russian flag? Being a powerful state is not enough. Design counts. The most potent flags assume a sacramental quality, as if the spirit of the nation is embodied in them, nowhere more so than in the Stars and Stripes.

3. Myths.

The great iconic images do not so much need myths and legends as attract them like magnets.

The more famous the image, the more likely it is that our common knowledge is inaccurate.

The fact that Leonardo’s portrait in the Louvre represents Lisa Gheradini, the apparently blameless wife of a Florentine silk merchant, Francesco del Giocondo, is not enough to match the mega-fame of the image. We need a hidden “secret” or “code” to explain its hold on us.

During the writing of the book, I was told a number of times that Father Christmas (Santa Claus) is dressed in red and white because of Haddon Sundblom’s brilliant Coke adverts each Christmas. Not true!

Sometimes the legends assume the status of a certain kind of “truth”. The story that the Stars and Stripes was designed by the humble seamstress Betsy Ross, who sat in the next church pew to George Washington, embodies folksy homeliness in such a way that it has becomes an essential “fact” of America’s founding myth.

I assumed that Einstein’s famous formula for the equivalence of mass and energy, E=mc² had appeared in his renowned set of papers published in 1905. Einstein scholars insisted it was there. But it was not. In that precise form, the equation seems to have been visited on Einstein as a simplification of his ideas, cemented in the public mind by its association with the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. The well-known tends not to be true in such cases.

4. Luck.

Chance often plays a crucial role.

News photographs are notoriously dependent on the photographer being in the right place at the right time. To emerge from billions of press photographs to assume everlasting fame, the resulting photograph needs to find its way, often independently, into an environment in which it is supremely fit to survive.

Nick Ut’s napalmed girl and Joe Rosenthal’s famed picture of the raising of the U.S. flag on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima towards the end of World War II were not put forward as unique masterpieces by their makers.

Horst Fass of Associated Press needed to persuade picture editors that the rule not to display naked children should be overridden. Alberto Korda’s photograph of Che was not the one selected for publication by the Cuban newspaper.

The ribbed and waisted shape of the Coca-Cola bottle arose from a mistake. Chapman Root sent three employees to the local library to seek the shape of cola nuts (the source of the caffeine) or the shape of the coca leaf (where the cocaine came from). In the Encyclopedia Britannica they found illustrations of neither. Instead, they found the fruit of the Cocoa Tree. The Coke bottle should really contain a chocolate drink!

5. What makes an iconic image?

There is no necessary set of clearly defined factors that are infallibly shared by all iconic images.

However, there are tendencies that are recurrent to varying degrees in various permutations. Some are concerned predominantly with meaning; a simplicity of message that is at once definitive and compelling but that is also open to a broad, rich, and varied series of associations; the ability to work with both generic and specific meanings; an openness to varied kinds of individual and collective engagement; a special interplay with shared human values; the focus of devotional or cult practice; the forging of collective identity.

And there are recurrent but not invariable visual characteristics: a sense of visual presence that implies something beyond its material existence; a measure of symmetry or of a carefully weighted asymmetrical balance; memorable simplicity at the heart of the image; tonal and coloristic clarity; robustness in the face of degraded reproduction; making good repeats, as if in a wallpaper pattern; recognition even in fragmentary form.

We can think of icons that do not obey all these rules. And exploiting all of them is not a guarantee of success.

Professor Martin Kemp is emeritus professor of the history of art at Trinity College, Oxford University. He is the author of “Christ to Coke. How Image Becomes Icon” published by Oxford University Press.


Debris crushed a car outside the Christchurch Catholic Cathedral after an earthquake rocked Christchurch, New Zealand, on Tuesday, February 22, 2011. The 6.3-magnitude quake hit at the height of a busy workday, toppling tall buildings and churches, crushing buses and killing dozens of people in one of the country’s worst natural disasters. (AP Photo/NZPA, David Wethey: The Atlantic)

A picture of North Korea’s founder Kim Il-sung decorates a building in the capital Pyongyang, early October 5, 2011. North Korea appeared to make small, tightly-controlled steps toward the West in 2011, including an agreement with the Associated Press to set up the first permanent text and photo bureau operated by a Western news organization in the capital of Pyongyang. (Reuters/Damir Sagolj)

Watch on www.fotographiqa.com

One Polaroid shot a day, for 10 years. 

How To Become A National Geographic Photographer


Kent Kobersteen was the Director of Photography for National Geographic magazine from 1987 to 2005 and was recently interviewed by Gerd Ludwig of The Photo Society. Below is just an excerpt, hit the link at the bottom of the extract to read the entire interview. Quite fascinating: 

When it was suggested that I write about what it takes to be a National Geographic photographer I was somewhat reluctant to do so.  I cannot speak for the leadership of the Magazine today.  Certainly every Director of Photography, and every Editor in Chief, has his or her own requirements and preferences. 

I began my career with the National Geographic in 1983 as a picture editor, became the deputy to the Director of Photography in 1987, and became Director of Photography in 1998.  I left the Magazine in 2005. 

Since leaving the Magazine I have kept in close touch with many photographers, and also with the worldwide photographic family.  I have continued to do workshops and give talks in Poland, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Italy, on National Geographic ships in Antarctica and the South Atlantic, and on a National Geographic Around the World by Private Jet journey.

While I cannot speak for the leadership of the Magazine today, I think there are several required attributes that are constant – they’re the same today as they were when I was Director of Photography, and earlier.

Those attributes are intellect, passion, maturity and drive.

Reading this, you may say “What about the photography?”  Of course any person under consideration must be a great photographer.  The National Geographic needs photography that is strong aesthetically and has a sophisticated use of color, photography that is poetic, journalistic, memorable, and comes from unique and intuitive seeing.  But, that’s obvious, that’s a given. 

All four of these attributes – intellect, passion, maturity, drive — ARE about the photography.

If one looks at the work on this site, and reads what the photographers have said, I think it’s obvious that each of them possess these attributes.

I worked with most of the photographers represented on The Photo Society site, and I am very proud to say that a significant number of them are people who did their first work for the Magazine when I was Director of Photography – they are my legacy, if you will. 

I always felt that my responsibility was to get the best, most appropriate photographer for a given story, and then to make it possible for that photographer to do his or her best creative work. 

Certainly who is the “best, most appropriate photographer” is a personal value judgment.  What is the “most appropriate” to one person may not be to another.

Read more at The Photo Society

Vehicles are submerged at the Honda factory in Ayutthaya province, on November 14, 2011. Clean-up work was underway at four industrial estates in Thailand’s central Ayutthaya province as water has receded after devastating floods, and some factories were already back at work, officials said. (Reuters/Damir Sagolj)

Robert Peraza, who lost his son Robert David Peraza, pauses at his son’s name at the North Pool of the 9/11 Memorial during tenth anniversary ceremonies at the site of the World Trade Center in New York, on September 11, 2011. (Reuters/Justin Lane)

Did You Know: The Wet-Collodion Process


"A Veteran And His Wife" - unknown photographer

In 1851 F. Scott Archer of England made public his wet-collodion process, in which he used a glass plate coated with collodion as a base for light-sensitive silver halides. His procedure, requiring seven steps, was only slightly less complicated than the daguerreotype process, but it was considerably less expensive. It also produced a negative that was much sharper than that of the calotype method. Soon the wet-collodion process had supplanted both the older techniques as the most widely used process of photography.

A major inconvenience of the wet-collodion method was the fact that the plate was light-sensitive only as long as it remained wet; after it dried it lost its sensitivity. Thus plates had to be used almost immediately after preparation. Since these plates could not be prepared and stockpiled in advance, a portable darkroom, in the form of a tent, wagon, or railway car, for instance, had to accompany the camera wherever it went.

Insight: Becoming Grace Kelly


Everyone knows the name Grace Kelly (1929-1982). But do they know the person behind that name? Is she the glamorous movie star who took the mid-1950s by storm and then gave it all up to marry a prince? Or is she the shy girl, who did not quite fit in with the athletic and outgoing Kelly clan?

Quiet Grace
Grace Patricia Kelly is all of the above. The third of four children, Grace was quiet and solitary in contrast to her older sister, Peggy, older brother John, and younger sister Lizanne. How she became a movie icon is a Hollywood story if ever there was one, but it’s also about timing. If there weren’t a Grace Kelly in the mid-1950s, we would have had to invent her.

New girl in town
Kelly was part of a new crop of female movie stars, a crop that also included Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren, groomed during the waning days of the old studio system. She signed a seven-year contract with MGM, but they didn’t seem to know what to do with her. Her best movie roles came by way of other studios on loan outs.

Mogambo (1953), was her biggest role at this point in her career. She played opposite two undisputed superstars: Clark Gable and Ava Gardner. But she almost didn’t get that role. Gene Tierney (who starred with Gable in Never Let Me Go that same year) was director John Ford’s (and MGM’s) first choice. Due to her developing mental illness, Tierney had to drop out. It was then that Kelly was given the role of the unfaithful wife who falls for Gable’s character, but loses him in the end. For this role, Kelly received an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress. But even with the nomination, Kelly’s stardom wasn’t a sure thing.

The New York Times’s movie critic, Bosley Crowther gave a rather lukewarm review of Mogambo, waiting until the very last paragraph (first sentence of a two-sentence paragraph at that) to even mention Kelly. That was all about to change; the public and Crowther would soon take notice.

Kelly gets noticed
In 1953, Alfred Hitchcock was searching for a female lead for a film he was directing at Warner Bros., Dial M for Murder. While looking for an actress to cast, he reviewed an old screen test Kelly had done at Twentieth Century Fox and watched Mogambo. While Hitchcock thought Kelly was stiff, if not a bit wooden, he saw that she had potential. Almost immediately, the master of suspense started to mold Kelly into the prototypical cool Hitchcock blond. When Dial M for Murder was released, the reviews were good, some even thinking it better than the stage play upon which it was based. This time, Crowther mentioned Kelly in the sixth paragraph (out of seven) of his review saying, “Grace Kelly does a nice job of acting the wife’s bewilderment, terror and grief.” From the likes of Crowther, that was absolutely glowing praise.

Edie Doyle or Lisa Fremont?
Almost on the back of filming Dial M for Murder, Hitchcock requested Kelly’s services again for Rear Window. At the time the role of Lisa Carol Fremont was offered to her, Kelly was considering the role of Edie Doyle for On the Waterfront,the role that eventually went to Eva Marie Saint. Kelly loved the Rear Window script and decided she’d rather portray a model from Manhattan than a middle-class girl from New Jersey. She could not have imagined how fortuitous a choice that would be.

Careful collaborations
Once again, Hitchcock took complete control of Kelly’s image and introduced her to screenwriter, John Michael Hayes. As Hayes would state in an interview before his death in 2008, Hitchcock asked him to get to know Kelly and study her speech patterns. Hayes was instructed to write dialogue that would seem natural coming out of Kelly’s mouth. Hitchcock thought (and rightly so) that if Kelly collaborated with Hayes on some of her dialogue, her characterization would avoid the stiffness of some of her earlier roles. The fact that Hayes’s wife was a former model made him the perfect person to write for Kelly.

Another person Hitchcock introduced to Kelly was renowned costume designer Edith Head. Under Hitchcock’s direction, Head went to work on creating a wardrobe that would be true to Kelly’s character as well as showcase her incredible beauty. With Kelly, Head had a clean canvas upon which she could create a look that was stylish, chic, and deceptively simple in design.

When Rear Window opened at the Rivoli in August of 1954, 2,000 people attended the premier, a benefit for the American-Korean Foundation. It was an immediate commercial and critical success and people took notice of Grace Kelly in what would become an iconic role for the then 25-year-old actress.

Five movies in one year!
In 1954, moviegoers couldn’t avoid Grace Kelly. That year, she had no fewer than five films in release: Dial M for Murder (May), Rear Window (August), The Country Girl, The Bridges at Toko-ri, and Green Fire (December). For her performance in The Country Girl, she was awarded the Best Actress Academy Award for 1955. The competition was unusually stiff that year, with Kelly besting Dorothy Dandridge (Carmen Jones), Jane Wyman (Magnificent Obsession), Audrey Hepburn (Sabrina), and Judy Garland (A Star is Born). Garland was the sentimental and the odds-on favorite, so Kelly’s win was a bit of a shock to many. Supposedly, six votes separated the two stars.

A star is born and then she’s gone
As quickly as Kelly’s star rose, so did her departure from Hollywood. She would have one film released in 1955, To Catch a Thief, again working with Hitchcock and Edith Head. In 1956, she would have two films in release, The Swan and High Society, which would be her last. On April 19, 1956, Kelly wed Prince Rainier of Monaco. Rumors of a comeback never materialized. Grace Kelly remained Princess Grace of Monaco until her traffic death in a car accident on September 14, 1982. She was 52 years old.

(Becoming Grace Kelly @ Classic Movie Man)