Archive for the ‘Press Photography’ Category

Entire LIFE library now freely available

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

It had to happen.

The photo archive of LIFE is now available in medium resolution for free for all. Powered by the friendly folks, who can not do evil – Google, and TimeWarner! According to the press release, the entire archive of 10+ million images will be released to the public in the near future; right now there are 2 million photos available. 97% of the images have not been published before. Of course, everyone at TimeWarner and Google is quite excited about this.

From a photography perspective, I am thrilled, too. I wrote an article this summer that revealed my admiration for LIFE pictures since I was a kid. LIFE photographers probably influenced me more than anyone else. And the LIFE archive is certainly one of the most amazing archives of all time. Just do a simple Google search to see pictures from your favorite photographers. Great!

But wait – something is wrong. At the time of writing, a search for Alfred Eisenstaedt reveals just 200 photos (he must have shot 10,000s of images for LIFE). A search for Kennedy returns 200 photos. Hollywood – 200 photos. What’s going on? Are all searches limited to 200 photos? Why? And then some searches do not have any results at all, e.g. Picasso (this was corrected four hours after this article was posted). Huh?

Also, TimeWarner and Google are not exactly known as the Do-Good’ers they try to suggest they are. Why are they giving away millions of photos to the general public, when they are still licencing the archive through their cooperation with Getty Images? Sure, they sell poster prints from the Google pages, starting at $79.99. This will bring in some money. But still I wonder whether there is more to the story?

The lack of licence terms on all the pages of the LIFE archive makes me feel slightly uneasy. The main archive page does not contain any licence terms, and no terms of use either. The individual photo pages mention just “© Time Inc.” but no other licence terms. This is fully sufficient to clarify the licence situation. But I guess that now zillions of blogs will hotlink and re-publish these images from the LIFE archive.

And no, not even the official help page does mention copyrights and terms of use at all. It says what you may do with the photos, though:

Q.: What can I do with the images I find from the LIFE photo archive?
A.: You can browse and view the images you find, rate them, and see detailed information about the photographs. There is also a link to buy image merchandise provided by LIFE.

I interpret this as:

You may not use the photographs for anything else than to browse and view them, to rate them, to see detailed information about them, and to buy image merchandise provided by LIFE.

Which is not much.

Soooo, if you are a photographer who is also a Blogger, here is my wake-up call for you: do not use any of the images, unless you want to receive some mail from TimeWarner, and their lawyers. (I think they expect commercial licencing still to be done through GettyImages, so anyone using images from the archive commercially without proper licence is facing serious trouble.)

And what does all this mean for the photo business? Well, the sudden addition of 10+ million excellent photos to the Internet means (to me) that the value of photography has been once more reduced significantly. The availability of all these outstanding photos is the silent admission that high-end photography is now a commodity. Sure, end-users will cheer for all the free images. TimeWarner cheer as well as they can monetize their back catalog better now. But photo archives that focus on historical photos will cry. Their ability to monetize their archives has been reduced significantly.

It had to happen.

B2RUN München 2008 Photos

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Yesterday a huge group of runners, joggers, and walkers gathered in Munich to participate in the annual “company run” (German: Firmenlauf), a running competition for companies who operate in or around Munich. The distance is 6.75 km, so it’s quite do-able even for untrained participants who can always walk. Companies usually sponsor their groups with both the entry fees and some funny T-Shirt, and it’s more like a big party than everything else. In order to attract additional attention, some teams appeared in costumes, like IKEA with their yellow shopping bags (as trousers), the girly group of Wallmeier Hair in their colorful 80s leggings, or the guys and girls wearing blue wigs (aka the “Bosch4speed Team”).

But the majority of this years’ record-breaking 30,600 participants came for the sport event and the party, joined by an equally large fanbase along the racetrack through Munich’s awesome Olympic Park. Despite being rather cold that evening, the crowd started almost on time at 7:33 pm, with the 1,000 best runners heading the field. For them, the distance was not a big deal: Florian Neuschwander, the winner, came in 18 minutes and 17 seconds after the start, when others had not even started their race. (See the official results at B2RUN.)

By the way, Petra participated as well, for the very first time, and she did better than she had expected. Her starting number was 28920, and she needed just 42 minutes and 11 seconds, and she was quite happy about it. Exhausted, but happy. :-)

Here are just a few photos of the event (click to enlarge):

Leggings Ladies at B2RUN 2008 München
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

B2RUN Munich
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Funny group at B2RUN München
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

A sea of people waiting for the start
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Runners at the B2RUN München 2008
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

B2RUN 2008 Munich
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Runner # 27992 of Unicredit Group
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Runner # 13025 of gulp.de
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Runners passing the supporters
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

B2RUN München 2008
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Firmenlauf 2008 München
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

B2RUN Olympiapark
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Munich Loves You 2008

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

This weekend Munich was celebrating it’s 850th birthday with the biggest party the city has ever seen. The city closed the whole inner circle for traffic and allowed the people to party where otherwise the traffic would flow relentlessly.

And Munich had a lot to show: medieval markets, sports, theater, business zones, graffiti, concerts, and open air discos. It all seemed so well organized, with security guards everywhere, countless info points, and the ubiquitous campaign logo (a golden heart with the number “850″). This made it even more strange that you had to queue virtually everywhere for drinks, and especially for food!

Even the well-known burger chain was unable to satisfy the demand later in the evening, their restaurant being a complete mess in terms of cleanliness and quality of service. In this regard, the event was clearly a catastrophe. We think people would have spent way more money on food and drinks (and thus enjoyed the day even more) if only they would have been served in ample time.

The day ended (for us) around midnight – with a heavy thunder storm shower. Here are just very few random impressions from the party…

Thousands of people enjoying a traffic free Altstadtring
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Queueing for food - why?
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Omnipresent M Loves You Logo
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Cult DJs on an open air disco
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Enjoying the party despite heavy rain
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

What’s in your bag, Mark?

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Some readers have asked me: “what do you use to carry your photo equipment, Mark?” The answer is: it really depends on the job. Normally, that is for short jobs in or around Munich, I take my trusted Tamrac Expedition 5 backpack. It’s quite stuffed with my most important (think “butter & bread”) equipment:

  • Two DSLR bodies (1ds mark II, 1d mark II N)
  • Two lenses (EF 24-70, EF 70-200)
  • Two 580EX flashes (one in the outside compartment)
  • Two replacement batteries for the cameras
  • 16 replacement batteries for the flashes
  • An airpump for sensor cleaning
  • Optical cleaning cloth
  • Two Stofen Omni bounce soft boxes
  • Six memory cards (in the outside compartments)
  • Job briefing, airline tickets, business cards, other documents

Here’s a peek inside:

Tamrac Expedition 5 with equipment

In case you’re wondering about the weight of the backpack with all that stuff – it’s 22.5 lb (10.2 kg). It’s slightly overweight for the handbaggage of most airlines, but you can always remove the flashes and batteries.

I use a second bag – an early model of the Tamrac Pro 12 5612 with a single shoulder strap. That bag takes my other lenses, filters, and chargers (and the camera manuals, just in case ;-). I’ve got this bag since my film camera days when you needed to take plenty of films for a job, and Tamrac had these “pop-in” pockets for the films. Since I went digital, I removed these pockets and use the bag just for bigger jobs like weddings or outdoor portrait shootings. Of course, the tripod has a bag of its own that also takes up the slim monopod.