The new age of Photojournalism : Hipstamatic Phone

July 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Benjamin Lowy, iAfghanilandistan: Afghanistan by iPhone

Hipstamatic on the iPhone has been causing a stir. not just for smartphone users, but also in the photojournalism world.

Later this year, Synthetic, the maker of the Hipstamatic application, has planned to launch Hipstamatic Foundation for Photojournalism which is to  “support photographic storytellers”, who use smartphones to tell their stories.

They are also expected to launch, a pack of digital lenses and films dedicated to photojournalists in order to raise funds for its newly created Hipstamatic Foundation.

The Foundation will also help to educate and to support “the next generation of photographic storytellers who are using smartphones with Hipstamatic to tell and broadcast their tales”, as the Foundation’s Facebook page reads.

In an interview with BJP, Synthetic’s CEO, Lucas Allen Buick, explained: “The idea behind it is to create an educational platform, where professionals will be able give some of their time to educate up-and-coming photographers on how to go into Libya, for example, and not get shot.”

Since the app’s launch in 2009, it has high rocketed to even more success in 2010. That was when it was adopted by photojournalists.

One of these users is Lowy, a Reportage by Getty Images photographer. “I’ve been kind of experimenting with an iPhone for the past four years, ever since it first came out,” Lowy told BJP earlier this year. “Then I discovered Hipstamatic two years ago and liked the idea that I didn’t have to do anything in post-production – the app sort of did it automatically.”

Lowy had started shooting with it, mostly on the side, when he was home, for example.

“It was a way to refresh my mental energies, as I was constantly shooting with a 35mm Canon. And then I received a film assignment – I hadn’t done one since I was in college. I was scared I wouldn’t be able to do it right, so I took a film camera, a bunch of chrome and I shot it, but I had my Hipstamatic with me, and I just shot a second body of work.” It turned out the client actually liked the Hipstamatic images the most and decided to use them.

“I realised there was something good going on,” said Lowy. “I started shooting other assignments with my iPhone. I’ve been in Afghanistan a few times, for example, but I really started using the app in Libya. I think I shot more with it than with my Canon.” When he came back, he sent an email to Hipstamatic’s communications director and “we started a dialogue”.

Lowy’s idea was to build a relationship which would develop into the production of a digital pack that would help to assuage some of the repulsed as well as negative  feelings the app had created by purist photojournalists. “Those who say Hipstamatic is not ethical and not representative of actual events,” said Lowy. “I wanted to create a look that didn’t have such variables and led to questions on the ethical implications of such photography.”

You can see his professional Tumblr blog, where his pictures are:

For more information about Hipstamatic, visit

Follow British Journal of Photography’s updates on Facebook at

Read more on the article that this post was based on:
[copyrights go to BJP]


Review: City Love

Photojournalists are not all professionals. They all have to start somewhere.

Sydney Cavanagh is a young photojournalist who blogs about her travels and pictures into a nicely written prose.

The work i am reviewing is City Love.

It documents her travel to the Big Apple, what she sees and feels at the time. Her images are wonderfully shot, just like any professional photographer, with objectivity and narrativity going through each of her pieces. It also contains timelessness in each, with a subtle emotion going through  making them stand out.

[Picture copyright of Sydney Canavagh]

A full display of her images can be viewed on shutterfly.

City Love portrays a love for a city that never sleeps, and her images portray it well. She picks up on the every day events and makes them unique. Giving them another meaning of strength.

As a whole, her blog shows how well she picks up on the natural events of life, showing others that you don’t have to be world famous photojournalist to get good images, but you just need the inspiration and will power to work towards a powerful picture.

The reason why photojournalists are even considered to be like journalists, is the fact that they do often make decisions instantly,  often while exposed to many significant obstacles such as physical danger, the weather and vast crowds.

Modern Photojournalism (1920-1990)

Photography was invented in the 1840s, but it was in the 1920s when photography became modern. This was possible with invention of the first 35mm camera, the Leica.

This had enabled the photographer to go anywhere and take as much photos with a smaller equipment to take the  shots. The difference was without a doubt, has a dramatic effect for primarily posed photos. It had made  people aware of the photographer’s presence and  to see a new and natural photographs of people as they really lived.

Photo magazines started emerging from the mid 1920s. It was Life magazine which  created a new general-interest magazine which relies mostly on modern photojournalism. It was published weekly and became immediately popular, it even created copy-cat magazines, such as Look, See, Photo, Picture, Click and so on. (Life magazine finally folded in 2001).

In the world war II era, Life was seen as one of the most influential photojournalism magazine in the world. It published  some of the most dramatic pictures of  conflict, during the war. These photos did not come often from the newspapers but from the weekly photojournalism magazines, and it is these photos that still are famous today.

Photographs such as the Arthur Rothstein’s  “dust bowl photo”, or Dorothea Lange’s”Migrant Mother, can still be viewed today.

[Migrant Mother, 1936. By Dorothea Lange]

Photography has always been driven by technology. This is because photography, more than any other visual art, is built around machines and, at least until recently, chemistry.

By the 1990s photojournalists were already shooting mostly in colour and had made actual prints, but with the use of  computer technology to scan film directly into the design, it was the beginning of the new millennium.

Photojournalists were no longer using film as  digital photography had become so universal, it was both faster and cheaper in an industry preoccupied with both speed and profit.

Colour had become the standard for “legacy media,” for newspapers and magazines, as well as for web news sites. Colour printing technology also requires a higher quality image, so photojournalists have  to adapt their methods to accept fewer available light images.

Most publications are looking for eye-grabbing colour and not necessary in black and white.  As colour demands correction to avoid greenish or orangeish casts from artificial light, this has meant photojournalists, have to have even more sophisticated new cameras, sometimes returning to the methods of their ancestors by carefully setting up lights and posing their subjects.

You will often find, if you compare published photography today to that to 25 years ago, many fewer candid photos, less spontaneity, fewer feature photos of people grabbed at work or doing something outside. In fact,the subject is aware of the camera, just as they were before the 1960s, in the beginning  of the quest for naturalism in photojournalism.

Photojournalism is still very much needed. It documents the usually unseen and unknown as well as having access to where most can not go, e.g: War, Afghanistan. Photojournalism is a powerful visual tool, which speaks to the viewer on many levels. This is why it will always be in publication.

[Accidental Napalm attack, 1972. By Nick Ut]

Think of any single photo which speaks volumes.  Most will think of  Tiananmen Square in China, and you’d possibly recall the man facing down tanks. Think of the Gulf  War, the wounded soldier crying over a comrade will come to mind. Think Vietnam War, and the execution of a Vietcong, or of the naked girl running, as she was a napalm victim. The single image still holds some defining power in our society.

Focus: John Decker

John Decker has more than 20 years of experience with the camera. All of his hard work has made him an award winning photojournalist as well as a photographer. His work has appeared in many newspapers and magazines from around the globe, which includes the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Stern, as well as the Associated Press, Bloomberg News and many others.

With his many years working in photojournalistic work, he know has dedicated his time for commercial aspects of photography, as well as event photography and weddings.

Below is a photo essay from his website, ‘Serving Northern California and beyond’. 


[Due to technology blocking, i can not put his images onto  To view the photo essay, please click on the link ‘carnies’ above.]

John Decker’s ‘carnies’ show how the every day average carnival man prepares for work. It documents all of the people  involved from the beginning of work till the end. John Decker shoots them in a stylistic way: it’s all in black and white film, with the image having a singular focal point, for example, the arm of a worker.

World’s first combat photojournalist

The world’s first combat photographer is considered to be Carol Popp de Szathmari (1812-1887). He had decided to take his camera into the battlefield, using a wagon he had specifically made to fit a dark room into it. He would process glass plates with wet collodion.

[Crimean War: Turkish Artillery. (1854)]

He would photograph the various troops and their commanding officers, of both Russian and Turkish armies. He had exhibited all of his photos and had bond them in a book at the Paris WorldExposition in 1855. His album was much praised and he was present with many awards as Szathmari’s photographs were the first photographic image of war (prior to Roger Fenton‘s photographs a year later).

[Crimean War: Turkish artillery Officers. (1854)] 

Szathmari had offered his works to Queen Victoria and to Emperor Napoleon III as well as other royalties. Unfortunately, none of his works can be seen to this day as none of his albums had survived, yet his name does live on. The album which was in Queen Victoria’s procession was burned in 1912 during a fire at Windsor Castle.

Szathmari was born on 11th January 1812 in Cluj, Kolozsvar (Romania).  He was of noble descent and had studied former as a painter before becoming a passionate traveller. This is most probable that he had acquired his need to capture events around him from his travels.

[Crimean War: Russian volunteers (from Bulgaria)(1854)]

It was by 1848, when he had begun to experiment with photography. With the outbreak of the Russian -Ottoman War in late June 1853, there were many generals and other high ranking officials who came to be immortalised in photograph. He had made many acquaintances like this. It was in April 1854 when he had filled a wagon with his camera and glass plates and headed for the Danube border to record the fight between the Russian and Turkish armies.

Not only was he awarded many awards for his photographs, but he also had exhibitions and many publications in magazines and newspapers of his work.

Szathmari had worked with photography, painting and lithography in his career.

[All information was gathered from two websites as well as the Royal Collection].

Focus: Zoriah Miller

April 30, 2011 Leave a comment

“You see photography and photojournalism are about the subject matter, and THAT is what you should focus on. “

The pictures below are taken by a relative cheaper camera model, the photographer did enclose which model it was, as it was not important.

Above, the child sits in on the dirty floor in Uganda.

Taken at  Kampala’s worst and poorest neighbourhood. These men are salvaging metal for work.

A reflection of a contemplating child in the rain puddle in a rural part of Uganda.

The above was photographed in a a moving car, hence the grainer quality.

A brick maker in a rural area.

In Kampala’s most notorious ghetto, children who are addicted to inhaling glue through plastic bottles. (above).

The above image is of a woman taking her child down the street. This image was also taken in a moving car.

A brief history of Zoriah Miller.

He was born on January 27, 1976 and is an American Photojournalist. He has worked for international aid organisation, such as the Red Cross, before he had returned to photography.

His career as a photographer started at ta young age, but it trully did not kick off until late 2005, when he had taken a photograph which has been published in Newsweek, for the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsumani.

His documenting work at Gaza had named him Photojournalist Of The Year by the Morepraxis Organization in 2006. But most recently, he has won the PhotoPhilanthropy Activist Award for his work on famine in Africa in January 2010.

Miller specialises in humaniratian issues in third world countries.

The  documentary link shows  Zoriah Miller in Gaza as he is working in such a dangerous zone.

Focus: G.M.B. Akash

April 30, 2011 Leave a comment

“My fascination for the captured image was uncontainable and overcame everything — even my inexperience. Not knowing what I was doing or why, I went everywhere shooting anything and everything that caught my attention. The only thing I was certain of were the subjects I photographed. I concentrated on people living on the edge of society because their faces, lives, and living conditions held a particular fascination for me. Gradually I became absorbed in their daily lives for months on end, learning from their experiences. My desire to capture it all on film pushed me to go to places and to meet people I never would have encountered otherwise. Each visit gave me a deeper understanding of humanity.”

“Today, I count myself blessed, having become a photographer. To be able to articulate the experiences of the voiceless, to bring their identity to the forefront, gives meaning and purpose to my own life.”

“To me, photojournalism is a huge responsibility and a tough job. A photojournalist must be honest, hard worker, punctual, and he or she must respect other people.”

“This is not a job about making money or succeeding; it is about pursuing art, and opening people’s eyes. That is the responsibility of every photographer.

“With every picture you take, you enter a space that is unknown to you as a photographer. In the beginning it feels like forbidden territory, a place you are not supposed to enter surrounded by borders of privacy you are not supposed to cross. You, the photographer, are there at a factory, an old home or a brothel with your simple black bag hanging from your shoulder, eying everything around you as you are eyed by the people there.”

“It is challenging to work with so many international magazines. Bangladesh is not an internationally important country. I’ve met so many people who even don’t know where Bangladesh is. Magazines seem to only want photographs from Bangladesh when there are big floods or big disasters.”