Second Model Accuses Bruce Weber of Sexual Harassment
Days after a model filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against photographer Bruce Weber, a second model has stepped forward with sex harassment accusations against the photographer, according to a USA Today report.
Model Jason Boyce filed a lawsuit against Weber last week, claiming he was sexually harassed by the photographer at a 2014 photo shoot.
Yesterday, model Mark Ricketson held a press conference and described how Weber made him feel “ashamed and embarrassed” at a 2005 casting call in Weber’s office. Ricketson said Weber told him at that shoot that he “looked tense,” then guided the model’s hand “lower and lower” toward Ricketson’s genitals. Ricketson’s account of Weber’s actions was similar to that of Boyce.
Ricketson cannot sue for sexual harassment because the incident happened too long ago. But he has offered to testify in Boyce’s case as a corroborating witness, according to a Huffington Post report.
Good video is built on strong narrative, not just interesting visuals, says director, editor and video instructor Bob Sacha. “People say, ‘How do you shoot great video?’ That’s easy. The question is: How do you tell a great video story?” His first advice to those learning to shoot video is to forget about shooting B-roll. “I call it bullshit roll: It’s just random shit,” he says. And looking for B-roll, he claims, “can make you a lazy shooter.” Good directors look instead for shots that make interesting sequences, he explains. Those sequences comprise tight, medium and wide shots from different angles, of a particular action as it progresses. “What you’re looking for is the completed action,” such as a person walking into a room and sitting down in a chair, Sacha says. “A series of sequences becomes a scene,” and a series of scenes make up a film’s overall narrative.
To help his students remember to break down a single action into multiple shots at different angles, Sacha often quotes production studio Still Motion’s 3-over-1 rule: Every time you think you have a shot of a particular action, you have to get at least two more shots from different angles and distances. Or start by shooting closeups on faces, hands and other details, then go for wider shots and then look for something creative or interesting, Sacha says.
It’s sometimes said that the worst vice is advice, but whoever said that hasn’t spent much time on YouTube, where great advice (and cats) can be had in abundance.
Exhibit A, is Marc Silber’s latest video rounding up photographic composition advice from some of the best photographers in the business. No matter your current skill level, you’ll probably find a useful nugget or two in there.
France has named South African photographer and activist Zanele Muholi a Chevalier d’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters), an honor awarded to people in the arts who have contributed to culture in France and the world. Muholi, acclaimed for her portraits of South Africa’s LGBTQ community and her work to combat homophobic violence in her country, was given the honor by Christophe Farnaud, the French ambassador to South Africa, at a ceremony in Pretoria on November 21, according to Yancey Richardson Gallery, which represents her.
“Muholi’s work has raised the subject of LGBTQI rights in South Africa and internationally,” said Farnaud. “It shines a light where there is shadow, it creates a space where there was none.”
Muholi’s series “Faces and Phases” has been published as a book by Aperture and exhibited around the world. In 2002, she co-founded Forum for Empowerment of Women. In 2009, the murder of a lesbian in a township near Johannesburg inspired Muholio to start Inkanyiso, a media collective for black, queer “born frees” (the term for South Africans born after the end of apartheid). Members document their own history through writing, photography and video.
Muholi’s mentor, photographer David Goldblatt, attended the ceremony in Pretoria. He has previously been named a Chevalier and risen to rank of Commandeur. The Order of Arts and Letters was established in 1957 by the French Minister of Culture. Other artists named Chevaliers include photographers Olafur Eliasson and Pablo Bartholomew, writer Alice Munro, movie directors Ang Lee and Tim Burton, actors Cate Blanchette, Jude Law and George Clooney, composer Philip Glass and singer Shakira.
Thursday Tip: Get the Most from Your Shoots with Detailed Written Plans
To get the most out of every shoot, commercial and editorial photographer Christopher Malcolm says he prepares a detailed written plan for multiple set-ups. The document, which he calls a “pre-shoot,” helps him work as efficiently as possible on location and shoot all the variable he wants to capture.
He lists each of the shots he wants to make, the lighting set-up he wants, and some reference images to show the mood or look he wants. “For most shoots, I’ll tend to walk in with 30 to 40 pages of plans. It’s incredibly specific,” he says. For his personal project called “Warrior Academy,” he wanted to minimize time spent moving lights back and forth. His 100-page pre-shoot plan listed the order in which he would create each shot, and also the variations he would try with each lighting setup. With the document in hand, he says, “if something goes wrong, I have a plan B,” as well as a plan C and a plan D.
Use Diffusion for Maximum Flexibility on Lighting Effects
The photography duo The Voorhes are known for still lifes that show their pinpoint control of lighting. When shooting food or other subjects that call for diffused light, they rarely use a softbox. Adam Voorhes prefers a different lighting technique: putting a strobe with a reflector behind a 3×4-foot diffusion panel. “We can move [the light] to one side to create a gradient. We can move it closer and it’ll be harder, or we can move it further away and it’ll be softer.” This setup offers more control and flexibility than a softbox which, Voorhes claims, looks like “a block of light.”
Thursday Tip: Write Grant Applications As if Talking to Your Grandmother
From Sara Terry, photographer, grant-writer, and Aftermath Project founder:
“I think one of the best tips ever given to me as a writer was: If you have just been to an event, or if something just happened, and you picked up the phone and called your grandmother, what’s the first thing you would tell her about what you just saw? You’re not writing for Congressmen or bankers. You want to be able to communicate in a clear and dynamic way to someone you care about. That’s an amazing writing tip, in terms of keeping [applications] conversational, intelligible, dynamic and human.
“You don’t want to quote a Doctors Without Borders report for the first couple of paragraphs. You might cite reports and statistics. But a really well-written, successful grant application—at least for the types of grants we’re talking about—just has a compelling conversational quality to it. Not an academic quality.”
Workshop Preview: Aline Smithson’s “Cuba with Intention”
Fine art photographer and Lenscratch founder Aline Smithson will lead the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops “Cuba with Intention” workshop in Camagüey, Cuba from February 4 to 12 2018. “I often review portfolios of photographers who have made work during travel to far flung places,” Smithson says. “Often times the portfolios are beautifully shot, but ultimately there is nowhere for the work to go as they aren’t covering any new terrain or showing us something we don’t already know.” Smithson spoke to us about how her workshop, which she is co-teaching with Carrie McCarthy, will help attendees elevate their work.
PDN: Who is your workshop for and what are you hoping to teach?
Aline Smithson: I’ve been teaching a class for the last several years called “Photographing with Intention.” I realized that many photographers take all these workshops about the technical side of photography, and they haven’t really considered focusing in a profound way on what they’re shooting. I have had a number of students who have come to my classes with travel photographs that weren’t shot with intention—photographs which are of all the shiny objects they see along their journey, and it doesn’t make for a story. With this workshop, what I’m hoping to do is give photographers some ideas and ways of shooting where they could come back and perhaps then put this work out into the fine-art market, rather than just having it live in the travel photo market.
PDN: What do you mean when you talk about shooting with intention?
AS: One way to describe it is, when you take a road trip, you always bring a map. And so rather than just go out without any idea of what you’re shooting, actually begin to look for things to shoot. One way to do that is through typologies, where you are looking for something in that culture that you see over and over again and you photograph it. When you put it all together, you can compare and contrast this one object or idea. For example, Michael Wolf did this great project called Bastard Chairs, which is a typology of chairs that people [in China] put together to sit on. And that’s the kind of thing [I mean] when I say typology. You’re looking for something that is really specific to that culture that shows us something that we don’t know.
PDN: The typology of Cuba that has been so overdone is the old American cars.
PDN: How do you see beyond things like that if you’re new to a culture, and everything seems so new to you?
AS: One of my friends, Simone Lueck, [went to Cuba] and the first day she was there, she went out without her camera and just walked the streets and observed. One thing she noticed was that the front doors were open and people’s televisions were on, whether they were at home or not. She started realizing that the television is like another member of the family. So she went back and photographed people’s living rooms with the television on, and came out with a terrific body of work called “Cuba TV.” She went on to [publish] a monograph of that work. It came from looking at a culture in a new way, and seeing what was unique about it.
It is really hard to do when you are on the ground and have to work quickly, but that’s why perhaps we need to investigate some things before we go: learn a little bit about the history, the culture, the ceremonies before you go, so you have an idea of what you’re shooting. At the beginning of the workshop, I’ll spend maybe half a day having the students look at tons and tons of work made in Cuba from a more artistic point of view that will perhaps inspire them.
PDN: What kinds of exercises will you give the students to help them figure out how to photograph in Camagüey with intention?
AS: One thing is to have a day when you’re really absorbing the culture, and you come back with ideas about what you can shoot, and we can explore and expand those ideas. It’s planting the seeds in photographers that they don’t need to photograph all the classic Cuba stuff—if they want to they can, and if they went to Cuba and didn’t they’d probably be disappointed. But I want them to make work in addition to that. It’s an usual place to go, where things have stood still. But things are changing with the teenage and millenial generations, as they now have cell phones for the first time, and thinking about technology, maybe [workshop attendees] can make a small series that speaks to the change whether we understand it or not.
For example, Greg Kahn’s “Havana Youth” project focused in on the 19 to 23 year-old population and how they went from rotary phones to cell phones, and how that’s radically changing that generation. Things like that, I find way more interesting than cars and cigars. So that’s the kind of thing I want people to be looking for.
PDN: You mentioned having students explore at first—do you mean explore first without a camera?
AS: Yes, and I know that’s really hard for people, but I think it’s not a bad idea, because when you have the camera up all the time, you’re not seeing things in a deeper way. You’re not seeing the whole, because you’re always looking for the details.
Federal Court Sustains Vivian Maier Copyright Claim
A federal court in Chicago has ruled that the Vivian Maier Estate can proceed with copyright infringement and other claims against defendant Jeffrey Goldstein, who allegedly sold prints, set up exhibitions and licensed Maier’s images without authorization.
The ruling came in response to a motion by Goldstein to dismiss the estate’s claims against him.
The estate filed the claims last spring, seeking unspecified damages and lost profits for copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and other alleged violations. Yesterday, the court rejected Goldstein’s motion to throw out any of the estate’s claims against him, clearing the way for a trial.
Maier died in 2009 without a will, without any known heirs, and also without any recognition as a photographer. The photographic prints, negatives and undeveloped film she left behind were discovered in a Chicago storage locker and sold to collectors after her death. Among the buyers was Goldstein, who began selling copies of Maier’s photographs on a website in 2010, and in galleries by 2012.
In 2014, the state of Illinois designated a state administrator to manage Maier’s estate. The administrator has been asserting control of Maier’s copyright ever since.
Goldstein asked the federal court to dismiss the estate’s copyright claim against him because he has a “rightful claim of ownership” to the Maier works, he says. He asserted that ownership because the works in dispute were “transferred before [Maier’s] death, making them not part of the estate.”
But the federal court kicked that argument to the curb: It said the transfer was after her death, but the timing was irrelevant anyway. The relevant issue, the court said, is that under federal copyright law, ownership of a physical copy of a work doesn’t convey ownership of any rights in the work. In other words, you can’t copy and distribute someone else’s creative work—whether it’s a photograph, book, recording or anything else—just because you possess a copy of it.
“Even if it were true that Goldstein bought certain Maier works prior to her death, ownership of those works would not entitle him to the copyright or provide a defense to infringement,” the court said. “Defendants [Goldstein] cite no authority to the contrary. Accordingly, plaintiff’s copyright claim will proceed.”
Goldstein also argued unsuccessfully that the federal court should throw out the claim because it interferes with the administration of an estate, and the disposal of a deceased person’s property. A so-called “probate exception” bars federal courts from getting involved in such cases because they fall under the jurisdiction of state courts, Goldstein argued.
But the federal court also rejected that argument, saying that the “probate exception” is extremely narrow. The copyright claim falls squarely and exclusively under federal court jurisdiction, outside the “probate exception,” and does not interfere with the (state) probate proceedings, the federal court said in its ruling.
A trial date for the estate’s claims has not been set.
If you happen to be traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, fighting your way through a stiff current of people like a spawning salmon returning instinctively to your home waters, you may find yourself sitting for long periods of time, wondering: “How did I get here? What should I read?” For help with that second question, look no further!
Below, we’ve gathered together a list of long reads about photography from our archives to help you pass the travel time. These are some of our most-read stories from the past several years, full of insights about photography and living a creative life. Happy Thanksgiving!