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  #1  
Old 05-09-2005, 09:32 PM
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markgong markgong is offline
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Default Photojournalists, I need your help for a good cause

I am doing a photo story on the conditions of Nicaraguan sugar cane workers for two weeks starting on the 27th. I need help getting the word out and getting the story published once I shoot it. Does anyone have any ideas on how I should go about doing this? Send out emails before I go or after I return with samples? The story goes that over 2,000 workers have died from poisoning caused by large chemical companies poisoing the water. The workers are seeking recognition and reimbursment for their heartache. As recently as two months ago, thousands of workers marched 100 miles from their village to the senate to stay their case. To this day, they have not been heard. So safe to say this is a very disturbing issue that needs to be addressed. I am guessing no one down there has done a full photo story on this to show the people their affliction. So I am pretty much planning to photograph the protesters in their tent village, the road they took, their village, the afflicted and the companies themselves all within 2 weeks. What do you guys think? Any and all advice is welcome. This will be my first photo story so I can use all the help I can get guys, Oh, and don't worry, I'll be using strictly a wide angle lens, no telephoto.

Thanks everyone,
Mark
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  #2  
Old 05-09-2005, 10:19 PM
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Default Re: Photojournalists, I need your help for a good cause

you could try working with the help of an NGO that is already working on this issue. i'm not sure but i think people normally do their story first and they show it to a magazine or whatever, unless ofcourse if you're james nachtwey ( but he does the same as well).. then you have enough credibility to propose what you want to do.


if i was in your place, i would not be thinking in terms of doing a 2 week photo story, but proper long term documentary work on it.

as an example you could look at "the bhopal gas tragedy-1984" which was covered by 2 very good indian photojournalists.

on the one hand, pablo bartholomew covered it more as a news event with this photograph being the world press photograph of the year.
he covered the even as it happened


on the other hand raghu rai worked on it from 1984-1999 or so.. covereing not only what happened in 1984 but also its repercussions etc.
you can see his story here

now this doesn't mean that raghu rai didn't do any newspaper/magazine work, but he didn't set himself a time limit and he tried to get a more in depth look at the whole thing..

there are lots and lots of organisations that fund these type of projects (provided they think the stories are good enough)

if you don't have over 2 weeks and you want to really work on this, you could try and get your university/local magazine/newspaper to print it.

also.. once you get your story, you could also try writing to some of the successful professionals..
over even our own morgan
who's a photojournalist by profession and also writes small columns for TIME magazine
his latest article being here

by the way even simon(flydragon) has a lot of experience in the professional field. contact such people.
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Old 05-09-2005, 10:51 PM
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Default Re: Photojournalists, I need your help for a good cause

This is a very interesting story and I would like to read it once you have written it. I have been to a sugar cane processing plant in Costa Rica and I thought to myself I would rather die that have to work here. I have a few pictures and I was looking for one to upload but they were mostly crap. A wide angle would be more than fine to photograph, no use for telephoto. If you go inside the plant, you can count on it being dark, very humid, and loud. It will be a tough job to capture the full impression inside a plant, because most of the disgusting work conditions are shown by the sounds and feel, not so much visual. Good luck, I look forward to seeing your pictures and reading your article
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Old 05-09-2005, 11:18 PM
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Default Re: Photojournalists, I need your help for a good cause

Thanks for the heads up Sohrab. 10-12 days is all I have at the moment work on the project. Ofcourse if time permits, I would LOVE to follow up on it. However, since I will already be in the region anyways, I think I should help as much as possible by documenting what is going on. I have already contacted two NGOs and eagerly awaiting their reponse. I am doing this strictly from my own funds, so I am not worried about getting sponsored for this trip. Ofcourse with any good story, the photographer has to be intimate and have the trust of the people he/she is working with and ofcourse I don't expect this to happen within 10-12 days. That being said, I still think that any amount of photos coming out of this event will do 10x more difference than having none at all. Simply because I am on a time constrant should also not force me to not deal with this project. Maybe I should just have a better plan on what I CAN do down there with the amount of time I have.

Any ideas on getting access to the sugar cane factory?

Thanks Sohrab
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  #5  
Old 05-09-2005, 11:31 PM
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Default Re: Photojournalists, I need your help for a good cause

How did you manage to get access to a sugar processing plant?
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Old 05-10-2005, 12:22 AM
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Default Re: Photojournalists, I need your help for a good cause

I was going to Costa Rica in association with Canada World Youth and ACI-Costa Rica. We had a guided tour, my guess is they don't come easy. ACI-CR is an NGO that works with youth from other countries in exchange living in Costa Rica.
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Old 05-11-2005, 11:05 PM
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Default Re: Photojournalists, I need your help for a good cause

Hi Markgong,
I am afraid you will have to learn the full ropes of photo-journalism, in learning how to get inside the story, the people's life and the netwroking to get publishes. Just going there with a camera, however you will shoot away, will not make you a photo-journalist. I mean, you will definitely get across your story to a few people, a few members here possibly if you were to post it, but thats is not photo-journalism. You will also quickly find out that NGO's have agendas that may not always respond to your sensitivity of your cause "at the monent", but as you establish yourself as a photo-journalist (it is not something one can claim to be just while traveling "there", just because one wishes it), you will gain weight and respect from the humanitarian aid community. So, IMO, shoot, but get established before you can think of making a mark and a real contribution with your shots.
Again what is your purpose? A nice touching story for a few, or a awareness-raising that will move people to act and barge on the problem to make changes? For this, an 100% commitment to this cause will be needed, not just a few photos and calling here and there. Not really throwing this at you personally, just pretty much the way it is. A lot of work, of which photography is the easiest part, and the leat frustrating. IMO, if you want...
Good luck and stay safe.

Herve
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  #8  
Old 05-12-2005, 12:54 AM
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Default Re: Photojournalists, I need your help for a good cause

I understand what you are saying but some help is better than no help what so ever. I work as a news photographer here in the states and and I probably know a great deal more than you give me credit for. Now I realize that inorder to do an indepth story, I have to stay for more than just a few weeks, but right now a few weeks is all I can spare.

I never claimed to be a photojournalist (something you assumed I said I was). What is so wrong about going somewhere and trying to make a difference. These people have never had their story told infront of the camera. Everyone has to start somewhere, ever the Eugene Richards, Alex Webb, and other greats were at one point green. You say I have to learn the full ropes...but how do you suggest I do that without taking the first steps to do that.

Your comments are condesending Herve. Why do you assume that I won't do a good job? How do you know my level of commitment? Who said I won't put in sweat, tears and blood into this project?
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  #9  
Old 05-12-2005, 02:08 AM
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sohrab sohrab is offline
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Default Re: Photojournalists, I need your help for a good cause

herve i'm sorry , but going by the tone in your note, you're kind of contradicting yourself ..

in another thread you mentioned kevin carter's photograph of the baby and the vulture, then you also mentioned the photograph of the vietnamese girl running.. now add to this this photograph by eddie adams

all 3 of them are pulitzer prize winners and the pulitzer is the highest level of journalism.
these are all reportage shots all done without the use of NGOs and they didn't really get into the lives of the people.. they were all taken at the spur of the moment. and not too many photographs were taken, yet they are/were all photojournalists.

"Just going there with a camera, however you will shoot away, will not make you a photo-journalist"

you should read how kevin carter took that particular photograph
here

whether his method was good or not is not the issue here.. he was still a photojournalist and his image is still one of the most important images taken in the 20th century.

personally.. i prefer getting into the story, giving it all my time and so one.. like you said in your note. this is what richards and salgado do. but they don't do reportage, most of their work is personal.

on the other hand james nachtwey who is a contract photographer with TIME, goes to whichever place for a short period of time and gets his story.
the methods are totally different..

while reportage might seem cold, the primary objective is only to convey the news.

"I mean, you will definitely get across your story to a few people, a few members here possibly if you were to post it, but thats is not photo-journalism"

herve if you're under the impression that photojournalism is ONLY what is printed in newspapers and magazines.. then you're way back in time. today the bulk of photojournalism is done on the web and there's no floor limit to the number of people seeing the story that determines what is photojournalism and what is not.

"So, IMO, shoot, but get established before you can think of making a mark and a real contribution with your shots."

honestly speaking i think this is a very backward opinion.
while established photographers have a greater advantage in getting their
work across, there is no reason why someone new cannot make a contribution with his/her work. infact there are so many great photographers who made a mark with their first body of work.
if you really believe in what you're doing, then go for it. if you keep waiting to get established, then i'm sure you'll just keep waiting all your life and do nothing but sit on your ass and wait :)


lastly..
herve you have mentioned 'what is not photojournalism', but nowhere have you mentioned 'what is photojournalism'. i'm curious to know what you think photojournalism is.
regards
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  #10  
Old 05-12-2005, 05:21 AM
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kinginexile kinginexile is offline
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Default Re: Photojournalists, I need your help for a good cause

I think you skipped the part where my advice was not personal, just the take on undertaking a project to alert people to such exploitation. I did not assume anything, therefore.

I may have not paid attention in your TE intro that you worked in News, so apologies for that. But you wrote:

"Does anyone have any ideas on how I should go about doing this?"

so sorry for thinking you were starting anew.

Photo-journalism is used just as a term for "covering a specific subject in the goal of informing the public, thru any press media one may choose". I did not use the term as a job you'd have sign to and be contracted under, just the idea it portents too, which i think is pretty much what you have in mind.

Did you get advices too, from your colleagues in the News environment?

Hope misundertanding is cleared. warmly,

Herve
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