Friday March 23rd, 2012
World’s smallest car, now available.
Also in development: the world’s smallest (and least practical) dump truck. photo by Bruce Peterson/Boston
Israel bans use of underweight models in advertising photos.
Exotic dancer photos from the ’90s…the 1890s that is.
“Insert Armageddon joke here.”
Asteroid apocalypse plans are well underway. Now can we start working on the zombie one? photo by Michael Clinard/Seattle
Books exploding out of buildings.
Man photographs himself in a pink tutu…
20 ways to recycle your obsolete iPad 2.
One tiny hand.
Hey, not everybody can have such symmetrical hands. photo by Noako Kakuta/San Francisco
- Maria Luci
Wednesday November 2nd, 2011
For the past two years, Sebastiano Tomada has been embedding himself with the US Army and US Marine Corps in Afghanistan as a freelance photographer. Last year, Sebastiano met freelance journalist Brian Mockenhaupt. The two hit it off, Brian remarking how much he loved Sebastiano’s images, and asked if he’d be interested in collaborating on an assignment together. Sebastiano agreed and the two began working together—Brian writing and Sebastiano shooting. After working on several assignments together, Brian was asked by Reader’s Digest to write a military story for them. The editors were looking for a photographer as well, so Sebastiano came on board and soon they were both headed back to Afghanistan to capture the daily lives of military chaplains.
According to Sebastiano, the parameters of the project were typical of his normal documentary assignments. The sole direction given was to capture the chaplains and the environment they worked in. The only difference was the delicate subject matter. According to Sebastiano, “it would have been impossible to give any more direction because the situation and the hospital were both very unpredictable.”
Gaining access to a military hospital in Afghanistan is quite difficult, but after years of embedding with the military, Sebastiano knew what would be required to proceed,
In order to get accepted to a military base hospital in a country at war is not easy. Embedding with Coalition Forces is not easy as well and you have to go thru the US Army Media Embed Office and process your request thru a Public Affair Officer. In this case, Reader’s Digest had to write a letter of intent explaining the details of the assignment, the formatting of the story, etc. It was just like embedding and the fact that I had been thru the process before made it a bit easier. Media is controlled in war zones and the reason you have to go thru the Media Embed Office is so they can verify your background and make sure you are not entering a hospital with the specific intent of trying to find some negative news.
Once inside the hospital, Sebastiano and Brian had just one day to gather enough material to portray the chaplains’ stories accurately. This made Sebastiano’s main challenge being able to gain his subject’s trust and respect—something quite difficult in such a limited amount of time. Sebastiano explains,
I ended up using my camera only half of the time I was there. I needed to know them better and let them to know who I was. It was, and always is, important to create a two-way conversation in order to relax your subject, and to some extent, have him or her somehow forget that you’re beside them with a camera. The environment added to the challenge—it was not an easy one to shoot in. Taking pictures as well as footage of the emergency room where emotions run high was a delicate thing to capture. One wrong move, too close or too far, and I could have lost my assignment or embed. In the end I took my time, made sure everyone knew who I was and why I was there, and just shot my pictures.
The day went by quickly, with Sebastiano working hard to capture delicate moments effectively. To him, one photo from the assignment stands out from the rest,
My favorite shot is the one of Chaplain Sholtes sitting on a medical bed in the emergency room. He was very tired after a long day of work. I felt like it told his story perfectly.
Sebastiano was also able shoot some video while at the hospital, which Reader’s Digest happily used on the iPad version of their publication. Their photo editor was very happy with the outcome of the shoot and the visuals accompanied Brian’s story perfectly.
To view more of Sebastiano’s work visit his site, sebastianotomada.com.
- Maria Luci
Saturday October 29th, 2011
by Bill Cramer
Earlier this month, I participated in the Eddie Adams Workshop which is held each Fall at a farm in the Catskill Mountains of New York. I was a student at the very first workshop in 1988, and this year I helped out as a member of the Black Team, which is comprised of about 50 volunteers who do everything from cutting grass and serving meals to driving people to and from the airport. My job was to run the sound board during the presentations. It was a great opportunity for me to witness talks by some amazing photographers including David Hume Kennerly, Doug Menuez, Howard Schatz, Eugene Richards, Phillip Toledano, Stephen Wilkes, Kwaku Alston, Al Bello, Todd Heisler, Clay Patrick McBride and Carolyn Cole. In addition to listening to speakers and looking at pictures, students have the opportunity to shoot assignments, have those pictures reviewed and critiqued, and perhaps most valuable of all – students get to know all kinds of industry people who can become valuable connections in the years to come.
Also attending this year were three Wonderful Machine photographers Josh Ritchie, Erhin Macksey and Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini.
Josh was a EAW student in 2001. And since then, he has been there every year to “return the favor.” This time around, Josh worked as a team producer. Each of the 100 student photographers is assigned to one of 10 teams. Josh worked with the Bronze team,
For the last four years I have been working directly with the students as a team producer. My job has been to work for months leading up to that early October weekend finding 10 subjects for the ten students under my care to photograph. Each year the teams pick a different theme, this year my team chose “equality.” The producers find subjects that fit into that theme who are willing to open their lives to a photographer for two days. As a producer, I also serve as a big brother so to speak. I answer any questions the students have, calm their fears, and even help during the editing process after their shoots. It’s safe to say that it is and will remain one of the most rewarding things I will do in my professional life.
Josh works with students Diana Markosian (left) and Alison Lentz.
Ehrin Macksey came all the way from his home in Vietnam to attend the workshop. He made it through the rigorous selection process to become one of the lucky 100 students.
One of the most memorable moments of the workshop happened after it all ended. I was sitting drinking a coffee the day after and thinking about my experience when I realized that EAW was like a team building and bonding experience between photographers, editors and the suppliers that work in our industry. For me, this is a very rare experience and I would imagine it is rare in our industry as a whole to connect to people like you do at EAW. I now can see why many of the editors and organizers of EAW use words like “Family” and “Love” to describe how they feel about the participants and the experience in attending it.
I thought to myself, how often do photographers get to just talk to editors you don’t know, one on one, like a normal person where you’re not selling yourself? Most of the time when I talk to an editor I don’t know if they’re very busy and are tired of being bombarded with emails and promos from photographers. So to be able to have a normal conversation that wasn’t 5 minutes long and then later show my work for another 30 minutes was just amazing. For me this made my trip from Vietnam very worth while and something I will remember forever.
Ehrin Macksey reviewing his assignment with Melissa Maltby, left and team producer Suzy Allman.
A picture from Ehrin’s workshop assignment shooting downhill mountain biking.
Sebastiano was also a student attendee this year. His project covering the Calicoon Church ended up earning him an assignment for Newsweek.
Photo by Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini
As for me, my own most memorable moment from the weekend was when Nick Ut introduced me to Bill Epperidge. Both of these guys had shot pictures that were seared into my memory as a child and pointed me toward the career I have now. And it was great to feel connected in some small way to all of that history.
It’s amazing the sound that 10 gallons of gasoline makes when you light it on fire.
Eddie Adams was an Associated Press war photographer best known for his 1968 picture of a Vietcong prisoner being executed, which won the 1969 Pulitzer Prize.