Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Face of Cancer

Photography is an art with many branches and, when practiced by experts, never fails to amaze me. The awards season is when the best exponents show us their skills.

This week it's the turn of the scientist cameramen and the place to see it is the Images of Research competition held in Germany. Here are two from the entry list but you can see them all on the link.

1st place was "The Face of Cancer" by Dr. Martin Oeggerli, whose company, Micronaut GmbH, produces stunning images from the invisible world studied by the Swiss University research laboratories of Basel and Vienna. Here is a metastasizing cancer cell originally extracted from a human carcinoma. This is the second time Martin has won this award.

3rd place in Fascination of Research was this computer tomograph of a leopard, sectioned in a CT scanner by Steven Seet. Below is how he did it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

More from the IPA Awards

The International Photography Awards released in New York are so awesome this year I make no apologies for showing you some more. I like them, anyway. The categories are widespread and pros and amateurs worldwide have their own sections.

"Goal" by Chan Kwok Hung from Hong Kong won the Moving Images Pro award. Here Myanmar trainee Buddhist monks relax after school in the traditional boys way with a football.

"Mother and son" by Californian Chris Minihane was placed in the Nature:Wildlife non-pro section and shows two rhinos heading home to the bush from Lake Nakuru, Kenya.

"Skate Dawg" by Lennette Newell from the States was placed in the Pro:Pets category. I include it because it makes me laugh each time I look at it!

Have a look at the home gallery of the IPA to see them all.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Huntress at Fourteen

This award winning picture by David Chancellor has cause something of a stir. It shows a 14 year old girl from Alabama named, Josie Slaughter, returning home from a hunt in South Africa with her kill, a young buck, across her horse.

Chancellor calls it 'Huntress With Buck' and entered it successfully in the National Portrait Gallery Awards in London where it won the prestigious Taylor Wessing Prize, worth £12,000.

David spent two days with the family on their hunt and the Gallery director, Sandy Nairne, says of the shot, "It's a powerful and beautiful portrait; a worthy winner amidst a strong international submission."

Chancellor explains the shot; "The contrast between the peace and tranquillity of the location, plus Josie's ethereal beauty and the dead buck, was what I wanted to explore. Here was a vulnerability and yet also a strength."

However, inevitably, there are those who disagree.

Speaking to CBS News one viewer says, "Too bad about the buck. But some rich people like killing trophy animals. It's what they do for distraction."

Another bites "It's appropriate that her last name is Slaughter." And so on.

The Gallery issued a reply; "The Gallery acknowledges that the portrait does portray an emotive subject. The role of the documentary photographer is to be objective and neither celebrate nor condone the subject."

The moral choice, surely, is for or against the hunters, the Slaughter family in this instance. You may agree or disagree with blood sports and the raising of your children as part of it. Britain's royal family ritualistically 'blooded' all their kids with fox blood at an early age. Hunting is one of the two oldest professions on earth, but it's a personal choice and it's legal.

But what David Chancellor is doing is being an observer, a recorder of events, albeit a very talented one. His presence didn't create the kill, it would have happened without him. We presume that was what the family were there at a hunt venue for.

Many years ago, when I was picture editing the Daily Express, my photographer, the legendary Bill Lovelace, came across a public execution in Bangla Desh. A large mass of locals were gathered to witness the bayonetting to death of three locals condemned as 'spies.' Bill and an AP cameraman recorded the horrific scenes. The picture spread in the Express caused uproar with Lovelace being accused of inciting the killings, which he did nothing of the sort.

A photographer's job is as a fly on the wall. Don't incite and don't interfere.

Well done, David Chancellor. A very evocative and thought provoking picture. It's up to the rest of us to make judgements about it's content.