Archive for February 2007


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Dirty Cops Belong in Jail

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Update: I have been in contact with a friend of the person arrested (RaginginMiami) in this case. I just left RaginginMiami a voicemail and will publish more details on this after I speak with him. In addition I have been in contact with the Miami Police and have a person in their department working to get me the police report on this incident. Once I have that report I will share more details.

Andrew Ferguson pointed me to a very troubling post today. I’m trying to research the story more, but here’s what I’ve got so far.

A photojournalist who goes by the name RaginginMiami was on assignment shooting Biscayne Blvd in Miami and was shooting a police action from a public street. The police asked him not to photograph them and he continued, resulting in a forceful arrest and his being charged with multiple infractions over the incident. He ended up spending 16 hours in a Miami Dade jail.

From his account:

“One of the cops told me to keep walking because this was a “private matter”.
I said that I will not keep walking because this is a “public street”.
Within seconds, the five officer left the first man alone and came after me. One cop escorted me across the road. As I stood on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the road, the cops began surrounding me, which was when I shot several more shots.

That was when they slammed me against the pavement even though I offered no resistance, causing a deep abrasion on my right knee. One officer grabbed me by the back of the head and repeatedly bashed my forehead against the sidewalk, causing abrasions and swelling to the right side of my forehead.

Another officer grabbed my right hand and bent it backwards in a 90 degree angle, causing me to scream out in pain and continuing to do so even after the handcuffs were placed on me. As I verbally protested, one officer threatened me with a taser gun if I did not stop talking.

The officers charged me with five counts of disobeying a police, one count of obstructing justice, one count of obstructing traffic, one count of disorderly conduct and one count of resisting arrest without violence.”

The photo above is one that RaginginMiami says is of the cops who abused him.

When I hear things like this it makes my blood boil. All photographers have absolute rights to photograph the police. This is an important right. It is a check and a balance against police abuse and brutality. Without this right things like the Rodney King incident and others might never be recorded.

Apparently the abused journalist has contacted the ACLU and is working to fight back this week.

I’m trying to make contact with the journalist and will report more of the details on this as I learn them. I hope that these cops pay dearly for their decision to use force on someone for exercising their First Amendment rights.

A few years ago Flickr photographers Aqui-Ali, Ropeboy, Ranjit and myself were stopped by the Alameda Sheriff’s department. They ran our IDs for background checks for doing nothing but taking photos. The Alameda cop asked me not to take his photo but I took it anyways when he wasn’t looking.

You can digg this story here.

Exploring Russian Hill

Just the Place I'm Looking ForJust the Place I’m Looking For Hosted on Zooomr

One of the things that I really love doing is shooting for San Francisco Magazine. For the past year or so I’ve been shooting a different neighborhood for them for their “Street Detail” story that they run each month. “Street Detail” gives you the details on the hot spots to check out in a micro neighborhood within the Bay Area. I’ve shot Novato and Pacifica and San Jose and Bernal Heights and Piedmont Avenue and the Presidio and a few other places as well. The great thing about these shoots are that I get to photowalk in some new place each month and I find myself learning more and more about the various SF neighborhoods with these shoots.

For the current issue of SF Magazine I shot Hyde Street on Russian Hill. The photo above is where Hyde crosses Broadway as cars exit the Broadway Tunnel heading towards Pacific Heights.

Russian Hill is a great and classic San Francisco Neighborhood. I used to live in Russian Hill back when I lived in the City and it’s probably my most favorite place I’ve ever lived. I had a really great flat right next to the San Francisco Art Institute on Chestnut Street. It had great views of the Bay and Alcatraz with a deck off the end of it. Many good times were had there.

Anyways, Russian Hill has a lot of great spots. Za Pizza (some of San Francisco’s best), Swensen’s Ice Cream Parlor, and the romantic cable car line that runs up and down Hyde Street reminding you every time that you very much are in San Francisco.

Russian Hill was also home to beat writer Jack Kerouac. Jack lived with his best friend Neal Cassady and his wife Carolyn and their two kids at 29 Russell Street.

You can check out the article and my photos of the neighborhood in the current issue of SF Magazine. Here are all of the shots I took for the shoot including the outtakes.

MyBlogLog Does the Right Thing

The MyBlogLog Blog: Everybody hurts… sometimes So I’ve kind of watched from the sidelines the past few days as this MyBlogLog drama has unfolded. I’d joined MyBlogLog in the past after reading about it on Fred Wilson’s blog but never seemed to really get into it. Maybe I just need to spend more time with it to figure it out, but anyways.

I quit MyBlogLog yesterday after reading a post over at Andy Beal’s blog where he was protesting the site after they banned this this blogger Shoemoney for documenting an exploit on his blog about how to impersonate people on the service. Shoemoney basically saw a flaw and used it to grandstand actually in kind of a funny way.

Compounding it all, MyBlogLog didn’t even have a TOS when it banned Shoemoney.

Again, anyways…

So now MyBlogLog has come back and done the right thing and unbanned Shoemoney. And I think they probably learned a good lesson in the process. It’s good to see them reinstate him, but if it were me I’d probably change his name on their site to Shoemonkey just for all the trouble it caused, in kind of a loving way of course. Bottom line is that Shoemonkey is a rascal and a troublemaker, but these are not necessarily bad things.

You see here’s the thing with communities. The best communities are full of rascals and the rascals actually make them a more interesting place. At Flickr, a community that I’ve been pretty engaged in for a while, it’s full of them. And even when they get banned and their trolls get banned, they typically are always back.

And it’s these people that make the community in part the interesting place that it is.

My good friend Mr. Chalk (warning Mr. Chalk is almost never SFW) has been banned numerous times from Flickr. All most likely for deserved reasons. Mr. Chalk is a crazy character. He claims that Flickr instituted the ability to lock threads because of him. He’d go to war with groups on Flickr flooding their forums with crazy threads and their pools with hundreds of repetitive photos of fireworks. This guy Vinny on Flickr once threatened to kill Mr. Chalk. This in turn got Vinny banned (you’re not allowed to threaten to kill people on Flickr).

Once Mr. Chalk impersonated me on Flickr. He took my avatar and got my name Thomas Hawk with a period at the end of it to make it look like me. Then he went around Flickr saying all kinds of craziness.

I thought Flickr might think it was me so I sent Heather Champ, their community manager, an email just letting her know that it wasn’t me saying all these crazy things and she deleted his account. Only afterwards did I discover that it was my good pal Chalk wrecking havoc on my reputation and I had a good laugh over this one.

My friend ShhexyCorin’s been banned numerous times on Flickr as well. She had this great account that went by the name Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographer who would do the craziest things. Once Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographer joined the Animal Rights group at Flickr and posted this huge block of cheese with a giant human teeth marked bite taken out of it. He was appropriately kicked out of the animal rights group. I’m not sure what PPWP actually did in the end to get banned, but when he was banned there were remembrances, even audio clips made and shared, etc. But the point is that despite all the antics Shhexy Corin is still there on Flickr and one of it’s most avid users.

Although he was never banned for it, one of my favorite pranks on Flickr was when Flickr pal Fubuki posted a bad camera phone shot of a package of toilet paper to his stream. He them pimped the shot up on various voting communities to build activity around it and soon had it promoted as the the number one “most interesting” shot for that day in Flickr’s Explore section where they highlight what they feel are the most interesting shots (by algorithm). It was quickly manually removed (I think by Fubuki himself when I threatened to send the link to Boing Boing), but we all had a good laugh about it at the time.

Sometimes bad behavior needs to be punished but it should never be permanent. These rascals at heart love their communities and play the important role of jesters and comedians.

I’m glad to see MyBlogLog let this Shoemonkey character back into their fold and in the future if they want their community to succeed they should realize that having folks like him around is a good thing not a bad thing.


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Canon Mark III Coming Soon

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Well it’s coming in April. The Canon EOS 1D Mark III. Yes, the $4,000 camera to drool over.

According to Canon this will be the world’s fastest digital SLR. It will be a 10.1 megapixel work horse. It will run with an ISO range of 100 to 3200 and will allow you to push this from 50 to 6400 if need be.

This camera replaces Canon’s Mark II.

Some of the cool new features on the Mark III will include the ability to finally shoot “amateur style” (using the LCD screen rather than having the camera pushed up against your face and composing your shot through the viewfinder). It will also have much needed anti dust technology that actually vibrates the camera when you turn it on or off to keep dust off of your sensor.

Dust on the sensor is a common complaint for Canon 5D owners and is a royal pain in the ass. I clean my sensor at least once a week with Sensor Swabs and methanol. Canon also claims the camera handles better in low light.

Canon’s EOS 1 series is probably the number one camera that the Pros use. So if you’ve got an extra $4,000 laying around in April you might want to consider this one.

I’m tempted but $4,000 is an awful lot of money. My 5D handles pretty well for me right now and I actually don’t typically need the faster speed. I don’t shoot much sports or rapid fire type photography. Generally I take more time to compose my shots. But for the sports photographer this camera will be really nice. The anti dust technology is the most exciting thing about it in my book and I hope that they can incorporate this technology into some of their less expensive models in the future.

Most dust can be taken care of by healing the spots in Photoshop, but sometimes this becomes especially problematic if the dust spot covers an intricate web design on a bridge or something like that. I’ve had to throw out photos in the past because of dust that I couldn’t handle in Photoshop (or didn’t want to spend the time to handle).

All in all it looks like a pretty promising offering from Canon. Just not so excited about the price.

Photowalking Seven Was a Blast

Lost As the Sky is High, Part 2Lost As the Sky is High, Part 2 Hosted on Zooomr

Update: More shots from Scott Smith here.

Well Kristopher Tate and I had a great time hanging out with a dozen or so photographers yesterday as we traveled the streets and alleys of Chinatown and North Beach shooting, as 15 year old Matt Roe would say, some “sick” shots.

Team SmugMug showed up with their red SmugMug hats and Eddie Codel (how cool is it by the way that Eddie has the domain name!) shot the whole thing on video for an upcoming episode of Photowalking on Podtech. Scoble’s up in Seattle so unfortunately he couldn’t join us for his one.

To check out a bunch of the great images here’s a link to SmugMug’s gallery on the event. Here’s also a link to the images that Kristopher and I shot. Matt Roe has his shots up here. Andrew Moore has his shots up here. Jeremy Brook’s shots are up here. Andrew Lighten’s shots are here. Also here’s a link to the event page itself on Involver. If you need an invite to Involver just shoot me an email and I’ll invite you. Also let me know in the comments section of this post if you’ve got a set of images from our photowalk up somewhere as well and I’ll update this post to include them.

It was really great meeting all the folks who came out. I especially enjoyed meeting Matt and Andrew who were 15 and 16 and skipped school (with parental approval) to come out photowalking with us. I got my first SLR at age 15 and still remember how cool it was to discover the joy of photography at that age.

We started out in Chinatown and then headed over to North Beach and then climbed some hotels to get some great overhead views of the City. It really was about the best way possible to spend an afternoon. If I could be doing anything in the world all day long it’s taking photos and it’s especially great when hanging out with other like minded photowalkers.

Our next Photowalk will be with Scoble again and down at Mavericks to shoot some surfers. I’m going to rent some big glass. Dave Alpert sent me a surf chart for Mavericks (we’re going to have to play this one by ear depending on how the surf goes) but it looks like we’ll likely be down there on either March 18, 19, or 20 depending on what day the surf wants to cooperate.

Thanks again to everyone who came out for photowalking and we’ll see you at the next one.

Getty to Buy Jupitermedia *AND* Now Buying WireImage for $200 Million

Getty Images Agrees to Acquire WireImage, a Renowned Brand in Entertainment, Event and Celebrity Imagery: Financial News – Yahoo! Finance Man, things are smokin’ up at Getty. In addition to yesterday’s rumor that they might acquire Jupitermedia for $450 million (which Wall Street 24/7 is now reporting confirmed talks from Jupiterimages CEO Alan Mecker) , This press release comes out that Getty is acquiring WireImage (another major player, especially in the celebrity photography market) for $200 million.

Getty Images to Buy Jupitermedia?

[I am CEO of Zooomr]

Getty Images may buy research firm Jupitermedia Rumors are circulating in the mainstream press that Getty Images, the number one stock photography company in the world, may purchase Jupitermedia Corp, the number three stock photography company beind Bill Gates’ Corbis, for an estimated $450 million.

The rumors were first reported in the New York Post earlier today and are responsible for an impressive 26 percent gain in stock price today for Jupiterimages. Getty’s stock was also up on the news.

Both Getty and Jupiter’s stock prices have been under significant pressure over the course of the last few years.

A combined Getty/Jupiter would certainly bolster Getty’s already clear position as the leader of the approximately $2 billion a year stock photography market.

And all of this would seem to make sense at least for Getty and Jupiter, but are there bigger changes afoot in the stock photography market?

The biggest considered threat to the traditional stock photography market over the course of the past few years has been the microstock market. Both Getty and Jupiter have invested in microstock businesses. Getty bought the microstock leader iStockphoto for $50 million last year and Jupiter increased their stake from 49.7% to 90% in in December last year. Corbis does not have a microstock presence but announced on their analyst call last week that they would be entering the microstock business in 2007. Corbis estimates the microstock market at about $50 million of the overall $2 billion total stock photography market.

Personally I think that the microstock business does not represent the future of the stock photography market. Even as Getty and Jupiter embrace the new medium and cite spectacular percentage growth, the acquistions of both iStockphoto and were in my mind also about stopping a threat.

And the biggest threat that microstock agencies represent to the traditional stock photography business today is that they creep out from beyond the $1 per image into the more lucrative $200+ per image that Getty, Corbis and Jupitermedia rule today.

By owning the top players in the microstock space Getty and Jupiter (separate or combined) can help control most of this threat.

But this is not the threat that they should be looking at.

The stock photography market will be changing dramatically in the next few years — with or without the current market leaders. It’s inevitable. The laws of economics require it. When I met with Getty CEO Jonathan Klein late last year he said that the biggest threat to their business was the 5D (figuratively) that I was holding in my hands when I asked him the question.

The content exists today to shift the balance of the $2 billion pie. While the top stock companies would create barriers between the established pros and everyone else, the truth of the matter is that the photography being produced at places like Flickr and Zooomr is in fact every bit as good as that being produced at Getty, Corbis and Jupiter.

Very shortly at Zooomr we will be launching a platform for all photographers to sell stock photography. We think that we have the right marketplace structured at this point. Central to our marketplace will be giving pricing control of imagery to photographers as well as changing the economics of the business to shift from the middleman broker model to moving the majority of the money made from a photograph sale to the content creator. The photographer.

Photographers everywhere will find this a far more attractive model than the current one today where they might get 20% to 50% payouts on images that are sold for $1 to $20.

Getty currently gets approximately $242 per royalty free image sold. Corbis gets about $214. More of this money belongs in the pockets of the growing army of photographers out there producing some of the best imagery you’ve ever seen.

Welcome to the future.

At Least

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