Peruvian Gold Mines in Photos

LA Rioconda

LA Times photographer Michael Robinson Chavez shares on Facebook that some work he did on Peruvian gold mines was honored with the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Journalism.

Says Chavez on Facebook:

It was fantastic to get a phone call from Ms. Ethel Kennedy! You can see the work on the following link.  Also sending congrats to my colleague Katie Falkenberg who also won an RFK award for her work on families dealing with the recession, an LA Times sweep!

Don’t Give in to the Temptation to Give Up

It’s tempting as a journalist to give up and just find some other job. Something more stable, predictable and that feeds a steady paycheck into the bank account. There is also the in-between realm of working a “day job” that pays the bills and doing journalism on the side in one’s spare time.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to pay the bills, but I can speak from experience on this one–working a day job and being a journalist on the side is an incredibly slow way to get the experience you need and want. There are cases of those who are incredibly focused and get themselves into a niche and ride it all the way to quitting their day job and becoming a full-time journalist. But if you add much of a personal life in there–spouse or kids, for example–you are probably looking at several years of dragging along and not making much progress.

Then there is the temptation to just find “other people’s projects” and tag yourself on to them. In other words, “get hired” for other jobs. There again, you are going to have to spend precious time working at finding work. All time that you will not be spending working as a journalist.

I had an epiphany recently about the structure that makes the most sense for a freelance journalist who wants to be their own man. Or woman. My theory is not tested yet, but in my head it makes a lot of sense, and it is measured against 7 years of experience as a freelancer.

It goes something like this:

1. BE CREATIVE. Designate at least 1-2 projects you are working on that have no current market or audience, but that you feel strongly about. This could be a book or short story or essay you are working on.

2. BE PRODUCTIVE. Spend some time every day writing. Try to make it the same time or time frame. Test different times and see what makes the most sense for you. Put aside everything else during that time, including hiding your cell phone and email accounts. Writing emails does NOT count.

3. BE IN CONTROL. Realize that you are the one who is in control of what you work on. Don’t let yourself get pushed and pulled into doing things that have nothing to do with your work as a journalist. If that means you have to take your camera with you when you take your kid for a walk so you can practice photography, then just do it. Integrate your craft into your life–don’t try to manipulate your life to fit what you imagine your career is.

4. STAY IN THE LOOP. Be in touch frequently with other journalists. Meet them in person, connect through social media, send emails. Whatever you need to do. When you know what other journalists are doing with their time, it will inspire and push you to do more, do better, and quite simply–just do.

5. MANAGE YOURSELF. If your goal is to try to make a living as a freelance journalist, you are your most valuable resource. Don’t underestimate the value of being able to write, report, photograph, interview, research, find good stories. Despite the current market’s general disrespect for journalists (in terms of pay), realize that this is a highly valuable skill set. Market your skills with that in mind, and don’t take any wooden nickels.

6. MIX PROJECTS. Use a mixture of projects to advance your experience and credibility and livelihood as a journalist. Take on some projects that are just because you want to do them, some that are paid but have little to do with your real passions, and some that might develop into something better. You will know what works based on your financial needs. Don’t do only projects that are your dream projects, nor all jobs that are just to pay the bills.

Any other points to add to this list, let me know. I’d love to hear them.

Tribute Project to Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros

Tim Hetherington
Chris Hondros

One year after their untimely deaths while working in Libya, a special tribute to Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros called “Liberty and Justice (for All)” features the work of 68 photographers. The tribute includes work of some of the world’s best photojournalists, and explores the concepts of liberty and justice.

Read more about the exhibit on my blog for the Foreign Policy Association.

VII London Panel Discussion

According to VII, an upcoming panel discussion in London will feature some heavy-hitters from the photography world:

© Christopher Morris/VII

VII photographers Lynsey Addario, Gary Knight, Christopher Morris and Stephanie Sinclair will be at the Frontline Club to discuss the key themes in “Questions Without Answers,” the forthcoming book by VII. The book will be on sale and available for signing at the event, sponsored by Canon.

Featuring Lynsey Addario, Gary Knight,
Christopher Morris & Stephanie Sinclair
May 21, 2012, 7pm
Fee: £12.50 (£10 concession)
Frontline Club

Magnum Professional Practice Review

If you are in London, probably worth checking out (straight from the Magnum newsletter):

Magnum Professional Practice: 12th – 13th May 2012

Review: Magnum Professional Practice at IdeasTap HQ

David Hurn delivers a lecture at Magnum Professional Practice. Image courtesy Magnum Photos

Magnum Photos and it’s educational partners IdeasTap, are pleased to announce the next Magnum Professional Practice event in support of emerging photographers.
Originated as a response to photography’s ever evolving marketplace, Professional Practice provides photographers with an introduction to the varied industries of professional photography, and provide networking and opportunities to gain practical and impartial advice from the UKs leading professionals.

In a series of weekend lectures, leading figures of the photographic industry will deliver presentations and advice on the best means in engaging with and the realities of working in their sectors. Speakers from the advertising & corporate, editorial, gallery, NGO, museum, publishing and rights managed sectors will each give presentations on their subject of expertise, with plenty of time for questions and networking opportunities.

Confirmed speakers are:

Olivia Arthur – Magnum Photographer
Sophie Batterbury – Picture Editor – The Independent on Sunday
Sophie Chapman-Andrews, Head of Art Buying, McCann Erickson
Paula James – Archive Sales Manager – Panos Pictures
Kate Pattison – Head of Stories – Film & Photography, Oxfam
Fiona Rogers – Cultural & Education Manager – Magnum Photos
Stuart Smith – Smith Design
Sophie Wright – Cultural Director – Magnum Photos

Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th May 2012
£250 +VAT (includes lunch & refreshments on both days)
For further information or to apply, click here

This event is hosted by Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design at their new Kings Cross Campus; Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, London, N1C 4AA

More information about what the practice sessions are like here.

Remembering Chris and Tim (via CJ Chivers)
In Libya: Remembering Chris & Tim.

Evan Hill of Al Jazeera wrote of the memorial service last night in Benghazi for Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington. Read it here. It includes this:

A reporter from the AFP news agency stepped forward to read from Gustave Mahler’s 9th Symphony,* a selection for Hondros, who was known for his love of classical music.

“Often I think they’ve gone outside / Soon they will get back home again!/ The day is lovely. Don’t be anxious, / They’re only taking a long walk / …. They’ve only gone out before us, / And will not long to come home again. / We’ll catch up with them on yonder heights / In the sunshine / The day is fine on yonder heights.”

To all who attended and participated, thank you. Thank you as well to Evan for writing something down.

*The recommendation that Mahler’s verse be read was made by Stephanie Sinclair of VII, who remembered that Chris had sent her these words some time back, when she was grieving a death in her own family. Thank you, Stephanie.


Odd Anderson/AFP, who rushed to the ceremony after riding back from Misurata on the Ionian Spirit, the vessel that carried Chris and Tim away from the siege.