Friday, 1 June 2012

James Trundle portraits

Pinch, punch, first of the month! (For the next ten minutes, at least).

Below are a selection of images from a recent shoot. The subject is James Trundle, a Theatre student from University College Falmouth. 

All things considered, I think my first paid studio shoot went pretty swimmingly.

The portraits (or 'head shots') will be used in James' portfolio.

all images (c) Samuel Moore 2012


Monday, 28 May 2012

The Haviv affair - with great power comes great responsibility

So no doubt that most who follow the world of photojournalism and multimedia are aware of the existence of the renowned photojournalism blog Duckrabbit. If so, then I am sure you must be equally as aware of what, for the purposes of this post, I will call 'the Haviv affair'. The debate, which has been raging amongst blogs, forums and even Twitter and Facebook, started when Benjamin Chesterton of Duckrabbit posted this on their blog. It was a letter sent to Stephen Mayes, C.E.O and co-founder of VII Photo Agency, asking some pretty searching questions:

Dear Stephen.
I am writing an article in relation to VII’s work for the arms industry.
You’ve stated during many interviews (and most recently to my knowledge here) that working for VII ‘Quality journalism, photography and integrity are key’.
Good stuff, but how does that square with working on campaigns for the arms industry? I am aware of least two such companies that a VII photographer (according to the copyright notice) has provided imagery or produced images for.
How is it possible for a photographer to class themselves as a ‘journalist’ covering conflict and at the same time be involved in the sales marketing of bombs?
Article to follow.
Yours Sincerely


As of yet, Chesterton has not received a reply from Stephen Mayes. But the plot thickens. Two days later Duckrabbit were back on the assault, posting what has become the subject matter of debate over the past 72 hours: VII Photo Agency, Ron Haviv and the world's two largest arms dealers. . The post used the late Namir Nor-Eldeen as the epicentre of their argument, a 22-year-old photojournalist who was killed in an American-led attack via Apache helicopter in Baghdad - the video of which was revealed by Wikileaks in 2010.  
Que Ron Haviv, a (now perhaps not) respected combat photographer. Duckrabbit accompanied the aforementioned post with this image:

The image's byline reads: Lockheed Martin (c) Ron Haviv, VII. Can you see where this is going yet? Of course you can, it's like a bloody film script: Haviv supplies promotional imagery to Lockheed; Lockheed supplies weapons to both American and Israeli forces; Namir Noor-Eldeen is killed at the hands of Lockheed's weaponry. Duckrabbit have seemingly launched a personal and to all extents ballsy attack on Haviv - not blaming him for the death of Noor-Eldeen, although I think a few may have seen it that way, but seriously questioning his ethics as a journalist. That is the gist, anyway. I wont go in to the details of the post as it is pretty lengthy, but you can find out for yourself here. Over the past 3 days or so there has been a cacophony of varied response:

David Campbell (@Davidc7): "I think @VIIPhoto (especially @StephenMayes and @ronhaviv) should respond publicly and in detail to the issues raised by @Duckrabbitblog"
Prison Photography (@brookepete): "@Duckrabbitblog went about it arse-backwords, but at last writes on @VIIPhoto's Ron Haviv's Lockheed Martin assignment.
Elena G. Sosa Lerin (@eg_serin): "If true, it's heartbreaking. @VIIPhoto controversy. Documentary integrity vs. selling work to #Lockheed Martin?

I found this to be an interesting debate, and one that I have been following quite closely - a change, since I am usually terribly lazy at keeping up with current events. The reason: I pretty much despise everything to do with 'war photography'. It's exploitative, often contradictory and, I feel, can never quite be justified. I do find it quite an irony, though,  how people have kicked up such a stink about the matter when it seems that almost every photojournalist I have spoken to encourages one to "keep a finger in every pie" - do you see what I mean about contradictions now?

Now I'm by no means condoning photographing ads for renowned arms dealers - personally I would rather hang up my camera than see one of my images used to advertise Lockheed - but I think there has been a fair bit of sensationalism surrounding the whole affair; take, for example, Duckrabbit labelling VII's photographers to be, quote, working for the arms industry, unquote. Notwithstanding the gravity of the situation, but such a claim, in my opinion, is unusually rash of Duckrabbit. He does not work for the arms industry. 

Haviv actually posted a response on his blog, where he explains that the original image was of tire tacks only, and was sold to Lockheed Martin as stock by his commercial agent where "they exercised their rights to add smoke". Just because Haviv's commercial agent sold a stock photo to Lockheed does not mean he works for the arms industry. Am I wrong? 

Christopher Morris, also of VII,  did not receive any criticism for being White House photographer during the Bush era, whilst Mr. George W. Jr. himself was out coordinating atrocities against Iraqi prisoners at the same time, for which he has recently been condemned for war crimes in a Kuala Lumpa tribunal. Does this mean Morris was providing propaganda to - and therefore aiding - a war-mongering criminal? Perhaps, although 'the Haviv affair' is less constitutionally-orientated .  My point is that there are probably a myriad of occasions where photographers have contradicted their beliefs and journalistic ideologies in the name of profit. This is what I find most sad about this situation, and Duckrabbit are 100% correct in pointing it out and calling for a public explanation from both from Mayes and Haviv.

I think that now is probably the best, and hopefully not the only time, when I can quote a Marvel Heroes character in regards to journalism. Here goes: 

"With great power, comes great responsibility" - Ben Parker. 

Haviv has horribly abused his responsibility as a photojournalist here. To paraphrase Benjamin in the Duckrabbit post, how can he class himself as a 'journalist' covering conflict when he is aiding the sale of bombs? Haviv - and indeed every journalist, photographic or otherwise - has a responsibility which is never officially acknowledged but is omnipresent. That responsibility includes not aiding the very thing you are working to fight against. Yes, the photograph may have been a stock  image, but Haviv must have been in some way aware of its use, and it is down to him, and him alone, to decide where his imagery is used. Perhaps I am wrong. If I am, then there is something seriously wrong within the commercial world of photojournalism.

On the subject of things being wrong with journalism, I would like to point out that there should be at least some scrutiny aimed at Lockheed Martin, who have quite blatantly and crudely put a twist on what was originally a harmless image. Again, although Haviv should have kept a more responsible eye on where his photographs were being used, Lockheed should take a critical look at the way they produce propaganda in the future. I would like to call upon of friend of mine, Alex Atack, who stated in a casual conversation regarding the foul play that "war photography can be a great and honest thing if done properly, but it's just so easy for people to warp the meanings of photographs". These grievously true words hit home when considering what has come to light over the past 72 hours, and the whole situation is a stark example of how imagery in the twenty-first century has and will continue to be spun in un-truthful manners. Shame on Haviv for allowing it to happen, but also shame on Lockheed. But then what do we know; we're just students, right?

Perhaps Duckrabbit did go about the affair "arse-backwards"  in their "tabloid-style" of attack, but it will be extremely interesting to see if any more similar cases crawl out of the proverbial woodwork as a result. In this case, I believe Haviv has severely compromised his stature as a journalist and has debased journalism full stop. Although there are several variables at play here, it is definitely Haviv who should be standing up and giving a public explanation. We're all listening.



Friday, 25 May 2012

Olympic Torch Relay 2012/UCF Graduate Fashion Show

So here it is. Some actual decent content for the first time since... well since a long time ago. I thought about giving each topic its own individual post, but I figured it would make more of a feast to have it all in one. Aren't I thoughtful? 

Olympic Torch Relay - 19.05.2012

First things first are first - and the first day of the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay came and went last week on the 19th May. All things considered, it was a very successful day. Now I'm not really all about the 'campaigns' and sickeningly colourful propaganda that the London Games has produced thus far, but there was a certain excitement this day: an anticipation being released after months in the making. It was, above all else, great fun to photograph.

The sun was shining and patriotically-dressed members of the public were out in droves. Coincidently, to cover the day, there was a crack team of 16 Cartel Photos photographers stationed strategically across Falmouth, myself being one of them. Our primary client was Rex Features, a London-based press agency and picture library with whom UCF have close links. Our brief was to document - 'document' being a byword for running around like lunatics - the day, and to converge later in a designated media room in The National Maritime Museum. The majority of our photographers were positioned on the ground; I, on the other hand, was casually hanging out the second floor window of my tutor's apartment overlooking the Falmouth high street. This was a fairly unique perspective and gave me the opportunity to experiment with a few more atypical press shots. Death from above!

UCF Graduate Fashion Show 2012 - 23.05.2012

Another Event being covered by Cartel Photos was the University College Falmouth Graduate Fashion Show, held at The Fish Factory in Penryn. I was on hand to photograph the show along with five other Cartel photographers. This was my first shoot that has had any sort of relation to fashion, and I have to say that it was pretty damn intense: lots of loud music, bright lights and plenty of beautiful people.


The creative aura of the event made for some extremely interesting photographs. Of course, it also helped that I had a centre spot on the press podium directly opposite the end of the catwalk.

Well, that's all I can be bothered to post/say. I am currently sitting at my  computer with half of my right arm in a cast after breaking a bone in my wrist yesterday foolishly falling off my bike. It hurts and typing is a bit of a struggle. Stay tuned for more updates. 


Thursday, 24 May 2012

Tt Yy Pp Oo Gg Rr Aa Pp Hh Yy

Christ, I haven't updated my blog in nearly two weeks - shame on me! With the term coming to an end and other (arguably more fun) stuff happening, things like updating my blog have taken a bit of a back seat (I'm pretty sure I've said this in the past five posts, but whatever). Things that need to be updaed on here include my final project of the year, The Turnaround Project, an Olympic torch relay through Falmouth, some portfolio portraits for a theatre student and a graduate fashion show shoot. But I'm not going to talk about any of that right now - why? I'm not so sure. Right now I am going to take you through some critical breakdowns of my recent work creating magazine spreads on Adobe InDesign. Doesn't that sound interesting? I think so, and to tell the truth the whole process of creating layouts and combining typography and image floats my proverbial boat.

Above is my first spread, with images used from my project with the homeless population of Newquay titled Sanctuary. Given the nature of the photographs and the fact they were all shot in 35mm black and white, I wanted to give this spread a classic feel, taking inspiration from such classic reportage as Larry Towell's The Mennonites and W. Eugene Smith's Country Doctor (seen below).

With this spread (seen in the original LIFE issue) I admire the mixture of uprights and horizontals, particularly with the upright which is full bleed on the left hand side of the page. I reflected this in my work also, giving a full page for the portrait of Clive Bladen. It is one of my best portraits, and it really ties the page together, giving it a bit more "weight". Smith was one of my main original inspirations with the Sanctuary Project - if you look closely you can even see where I had a cheeky go at his establishing image (bottom right of page 4).

Although I kept may classic themes in this spread, I wanted to make the title cleaner, yet still keeping the drama; I found this on the rather agreeable DaFont, which plays host to a myriad of fonts and typefaces. This particular font is called 'Edition' and can be found under the serif fonts section. The reason I wanted to keep the font a serif type was because it still keeps a classic feel. Combined with the movie-style tall lettering of 'Edition', and I had something that was both classic and contemporary. Poifect.

One thing that I regret (in fact, I severely dislike it) was my choice to overlay text on to the portrait with the title An Old Face of Newquay. Not only do I feel this distracts from the image, it was pointed out to me that it could be mistaken for a separate heading. In fact I am at this time completely against placing text on an image, and much prefer the 'drop-down' style of captioning. I am a sucker for 'clean' spreads, and overlaid captions just don't fit that demographic.

Next, there is  A Shot in the Dark. It is a small piece about a blind shooter from Helston... Yes, you heard me: a blind shooter. A quite incredible man who, I thought, deserved the best of layouts. So I give you my new and improved 'clean' look, sans serif and all. I vastly prefer this look, with inspiration coming from most contemporary photography such as the BJP and Hotshoe (seen blelow).

I am a big fan of Hotshoe, they put a lot of attention in to their design and the clean, minimalistic look is beautiful. I particularly like their use of bold typefaces, something which I employed in my A Shot in the Dark spread. Sometimes I think layouts are almost too clean and are missing a bit of depth. The bold fonts gives the page weight and a lot more dynamism. After completing my first spread - Sanctuary - I wanted to play with the idea of making the header reflect the work in some manner. My intention with A Shot in the Dark was to make it resemble an eye test board; this is why the letters fan out in a triangular fashion and gradually get smaller towards the bottom. I think the bold font reflects this also, and ties up the heading nicely.

This second spread was all about the small details for me: something to give the body of text a bit of definition. For this I employed the use of 'symbols' - in this case squares to separate large blocks of text and a cool squiggly thing to finish it off. Whether this works or not is something that I am still debating; on the one hand I think it defines the text well, on the other there are a load of squares dotted in-between my text. This time around it may have been a bit of over-kill.

And finally there is the Pig House Pictures magazine which I personally put together with my good friend Joel Hewitt. The magazine basically culminates in everything that I have tried, tested and learnt over the past few months regarding layout and typography. The work can be seen on bellow and on

Thursday, 10 May 2012

¡Viva la Revolución!

By 'eck! Pig House Pictures - the collective formed by everyone here on the 1st year press & Editorial Photography course - has had an incredible amount of attention over the past week. Our efforts culminated in both a début exhibition and online publication. From there, the word of PHP has spread like there's no tomorrow, with industry giants like Duckrabbit and Panos Pictures tweeting and blogging congratulations and praise.

Our online magazine (seen below) clocked over 10,000 hits on the first day, with around 500 reads. Now, we have amassed an incredible 70,000+ hits with 1,000+ reads. I am bloody overwhelmed - especially with the amount of work I personally put in to the publication along with Joel Hewitt and Artur Tixliski.

Please, flick through our magazine; it is a pretty large publication, so don't feel the need to read it all in one hit. In fact, the more time you spend reading it, the better the experience will be. The richness of these stories are incredible, and our photographers have done a spectacular job at creating a narrative for every single one.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

#SS Share Sunday

Not much to report on the work-front this week I'm afraid. I'm still plugging away with my project in Newquay, more images from that to follow soon - I keep saying this, and one day it will eventually happen, promise. Unfortunately things have been crazy around here recently, what with exhibition-planning and magazine-writing going full steam ahead. Both this blog and my university work has taken somewhat of a back seat. So, for now, I thought I would share with you another blog... which is also sharing other blogs. Yes, here in Falmouth we are big fans of Matryoshka dolls and the film Inception.

This recent post comes fresh from the Pig House (if you don' know what Pig House Pictures is by now, then please look at a few of my previous posts). This little nugget of information was written by myself, no less. I think the first sign of madness is when you start talking to yourself on social networking sites...


Saturday, 28 April 2012

Mis-informed security guards ruin photography.

Follow the above link to read a very interesting article on the BJP website describing the mis-treatment of photographers/videographers by 2012 Olympic security guards. It's too late at night for me to go on about this - and trust me, there is a lot I could go on about - but it is worth reading. To put it shortly and bluntly, it is a disgrace. 'Nuff said.