A partnership with ColorVision

Hey together! There was much going on lately. I’ve been very busy preparing a lot of different things but I’ll let you know more about that tomorrow. Today I would like to inform you about a new partnership between ColorVision and New York Photoblog.

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I got in touch with ColorVision only a couple of days ago to tell them about the last 7 months, about what I’ve been doing so far and what my future projects and goals are. Their response was not only super fast but also extremely scooping and friendly. Christoph Gamper, ColorVision Europes General Manager, agreed to send me their top monitor display calibration tool Spyder2PRO Studio. But not only did he agree to send me their monitor calibration hard- and software but he also promissed to send me a new version of their pinter profiling system PrintFIX. I was offered help with all concerns of color management and I was offered to join “Friends Of ColorVision” a small network of photographers who rely on ColorVision as their partner.

I lost the calibration of my monitor when I had to reinstall the operating system on my laptop about two weeks ago which really got me into troubles because I had to edit and retouch a couple of photographs for print. With the support of ColorVision I’ll have the possibility to finally work in a complete and good color management workflow.

When I thought of monitor calibration I thought of very complex and above all very expensive systems. And no doubt, there are extremely expensive systems out there to do this job. But if you look at the prices of ColorVision you’ll see that their basic solutions already start at about 85 Euros (or 89 US dollars) and even their professional solutions do only cost 299 Euros (or 299 US dollars). I think this is worth the money if you are dealing with digital images and want to make sure that what you see on your screen is what you get on your print.
And they’ve got a good network. They are partners of TPW, the Toscana Photographic Workshops. Check out the website of TPW and take a look at the lecturers of their 2006 workshops. I bet you’ll have to fall on your knees. I wanted to take part in a workshop their for a couple of years already but so far I was never able to afford it.

By the way, ColorVision is not only leading the monitor calibration market but they are also Switzerlands biggest beer brewers… I will have to find out how this strange relationship between digital colors and swiss beer started. Too bad I don’t like beer… 😉

So this is a further step for me and it complies with my philosophy of exchanging services. Of course I’d be happy if I found someone actually giving me loads of money for what I am doing but basically I’d prefere a world which is based on exchanging services. So thank’s a lot to my main sponsor for digital photography equipment Canon Europe and to ColorVision for sponsoring me with their advice and equipment in all belongs of color management!

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Some “Merry Christmas” thoughts

It’s this time of the year again. Christmas is coming, New Year’s Eve is coming and just yesterday I started preparations for Christmas. A little late? Well, not really. There won’t be a huge gift orgy this year, just a couple of small lovely things.

Generally speaking I am not a big fan of either of those two mentioned events. Ok, spending time with your family and relaxing a little bit for Christmas is nice. But three days of family events is just too much for me. 🙂

December 24th: Going to the butcher to get the meat which had to be preordered already. Going to the supermarket to do the last shopping. Almost certainly there will be some things you forgot such as wrapping paper, sticky tape or candles for the Christmas tree. That means waiting in long lines between all these people who wait until the last minute to do these things. Just as I do.
Then I will be decorating the Christmas tree together with my girlfriend. Some small disputes might come up. Well it’s Christmas time. Isn’t that the time for small disputes?
In the early evening we’ll be heading over to my mum’s house to celebrate together with my family. We’ll even sing a song or two together. We never do that during the rest of the year. I am sure you don’t either.
After that we’ll be going home and celebrate Christmas again. Just the three of us. My girlfriend Karin, her son Fabian and me. And our two cats of course. They’ll get some uncooked liver as a special treatment tomorrow. We’ll try to have some Christmas spirit, there will be a decorated tree, gifts and food. Yummy. A relaxed evening after a lot of preparations. So far so good.

December 25th: Getting up early. The families of my girlfriend and me will be coming over for Christmas lunch. Again a lot of preparations, cooking for about 10 people, having lunch, gifts again, doing the dishes… Thank god we have a dishwasher. Belly ache will start. Too much food, too much sweets and too much Christmas cookies.
I will be meeting my friend Christoph, his wife Verena and his lovely 3 and a half year old son Elias in the evening. Shame on me, I am neglecting Christoph way too much.

December 26th: Sleeping in but just not as long as we’d love to. Nobody may feel discriminated. So we’ll be driving to lower Austria to meet Karin’s family on the last day of the Christmas holidays. Lunch again, going for a walk, family talks, Christmas cookies again and the belly ache will not be better by that time.
We’ll be totally exhausted by the time we come home. We’ll I guess that’s just the way it is for Christmas. 😉

December 27th: Christmas is over and the computer ban I got from my girlfriend for the holidays will be over as well. Yipie! I have to admit that I did spend a lot of time in front of the computer lately. January is coming soon and I want to start my new project, the new blog mid January. Also there is much to write about. I spend much time in the last couple of weeks to work on a start of my career as a photojournalist. Showed my portfolio around, had meetings, had my first assignment and… my first publication. Yes, I had my first publication out of an assignment! And yes, I’ll be continuing to work for Magnum as well. Just in a little different way than expected.
I’ll be catching up with all these things starting next week on Tuesday. As soon as the computer ban is over… 😉

So long I am wishing you a very Merry Christmas.

P.S.: The photograph above is one out of many from my first assignment. It’s not the picture that was published but since it shows a Christmas tree I thought it would be a good image for this entry. Merry Christmas again.

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Getting Started 1: Creating a portfolio / The Magnum job

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I am posting a new gallery of photographs today. But it’s not a usual gallery with new images. This time it’s kind of a “Best Of” selection out of those more than 16.000 photographs I took during my stay in New York.

As you might have noticed I am totally obsessed with photojournalism and photography. I consider this to be a blessing and not a downside. For that reason I want to share my experiences on what’s going on with you. What do I do to push myself further and how do I start. Ok, step by step now… First of all I’ll let you know about my plans regarding Magnum.

The job at Magnum Photos

As I wrote in a previous post I flew to London after I returned from New York to meet the director of Magnum Photos London, Dominique Green, for a job interview. Unfortunately I didn’t get the job in London. I heared that they really liked me and what I did for Magnum so far. But the job description changed quite a couple of times after my visit there. Originally they looked for somebody to take care of Magnum’s internet and website matters. That job was bowled over and reshaped a couple of times. Now they are looking for somebody with more experience in business- and sales matters. Not exactly what I was meant to do and where I have much experience. So I am not mad for not getting the job. It just didn’t work out and hey, I could have taken the chance to work for Magnum Photos New York before…

Anyway I was talking to Claudine Boeglin, Creative Director of Magnum In Motion and to Mark Lubell, Bureau Chief of Magnum’s New York office after that. They offered me to work as a freelance “Editor At Large” for Magnum from Europe. I never heard the term “Editor At Large” before and I was wondering if they alluded to my body height or weight. Of course they did not! 🙂 Basically the plan is to produce those wonderful Magnum In Motion multimedia essays with European Magnum photographers as well. These essays get more and more advanced and slowly go beyond photographs and audio comments of the photographers. A lot more elements are included and the multimedia experience becomes bigger and bigger.
We want to try if it’s possible to produce those essays from the idea to the finished online version with somebody who is familiar to Magnum and their methods of work from distance. No further details yet but I’ll keep you posted about this development. An interesting and exciting task for sure and a chance to keep in touch with the source! So I consider this to somehow be part of my getting started way.

Creating my portfolio

As I wrote in the beginning I shot more than 16.000 photographs during my internship at Magnum and my time in New York. Being back in Vienna it’s time for me to get started as a photojournalist myself. What’s the first step to do so? Create a portfolio and arrange meetings with newspapers and magazines. So I sat down and started to select images out of those photos I shot within the last 7 months. I ended up having about 60 photos and I cut them down to 30 which I then printed on 12×8 inch (or 30x20cm) paper in the lab. The original prints have a white border around the images and once again I was amazed by the quality of the digital files my Canon EOS 20D produces.

I decided to show 6 prints with color photographs I took during the 9/11 commemoration in New York. After that I am showing 4 black and white prints with street photographs followed by 5 prints out of my “Faces Of The Night” series. I posted these “Faces Of The Night” pictures as black and white versions on my blog previously. For my portfolio I decided to print and show them in color. I have to face it: Magazines just want color images and a lot of them do not print black and white photos at all. Since I started to get comfortable (and even started to like it) with color in New York I have no problem with that. And hey, that’s an advantage of digital isn’t it?! I think it is!
Ok, after those portrait shot I inserted 4 black and white photos of Hispanic Parades and Festivals followed by 4 color street shots. 6 black and white street photographs and one moody color image close my portfolio.

Although I do have a “real” portfolio folder I decided not to use it. I bought it about two years ago and I’d say it was a wrong investment. It’s too big, too unhandy and the protective clear plastic folders look terrible. So I went and bought a black cardboard box in the right size for a couple of bucks to carry the single prints.

Equipped with that box and my prints I went off to meet my first two newspapers and a couple of photographers. My first assignment came out of one meeting and my first nearly assignment out of another. This will be content of my “Getting Started Part 2” post. It’s not a tutorial on what to do or how to do it. It’s just my personal experiences and how I try to do it… Have fun and keep shooting!

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Magnum Photos Feature: Bolivian Elections by Chris Anderson

Magnum says hello again and they wish us a Happy New Year with a new and very powerful multimedia essay. Magnum nominee Christopher Anderson (whom I interviewed in New York already) travelled to Bolivia in December to photograph the election of Evo Morales, a former coca farmer intent on bringing socialism to his indigenous countrymen.
Chris Anderson photographed before, during and after the presidential elections and did not only bring back impressive black and white photographs but also field recordings he did during his 10 days trip.

This new multimedia essay is – in many ways – a further step for Magnum In Motion as I personally see it. It’s the first essay for which a photographer did not only record street sounds on-site but also sort of a spoken diary which was used for this story. Thanks to the new Flash Tool which was developed and designed together with the Belgium webdesign agency “group94” the format of this presentation changed and improved. The sound is not intermitted by the changing of photographs anymore and movement was partly created through quick sequencing of images. Well see for yourself and please let me know what you think of it. Any feedback will help to further improve this kind of presentation.

For a list of all multimedia essays produced so far visit the Magnum In Motion website, for more work by Magnum photographers visit the Magnum Photos website and for more Magnum related postings on New York Photoblog go to the archive.

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Getting Started 2: The first assignment

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In “Getting Started 1: Creating a portfolio / The Magnum job” I wrote about my plans with Magnum and how I created my portfolio. Today I’ll let you know how things went on after I had my portfolio in hand.

The way to my first assignment

The first thing I did with my portfolio was to meet a friend of mine who is photographer as well. I met Felicitas Kruse for the first time about a year and a half ago when we were photographing the funeral of Austrian President Thomas Klestil who died two days before the end of his incumbency. We’ve been the only photographers with small film based cameras in a crowd of photographers with digital SLRs and long telephoto lenses… Anyway. Felicitas stopped to work as a photojournalist some months ago to dedicate her time to personal projects. Seemingly she decided for some reason to take care of me and my photographic career. Good for me. We’ve been talking about the situation for photographers in Austria, where to go, whom to approach, whom to meet and so on. She gave me a list of Names and contacts which I thankfully took.

First I called Heribert Corn, a photographer who is working a lot for Vienna’s city newspaper “Falter” among others. “Falter” is a pretty good paper to start working for. They are political, write about topics other papers wouldn’t write about, they have a wide distribution in Austria and they print the photographers credits as big as no other paper does.

I met Heribert Corn already once before my departure to New York about 8 months ago. I showed him my portfolio with old black and white photographs and asked him if there would be any chance for me to start working for “Falter”. He liked it and said that we should give it a try. Well a week later I sat on the plane to New York and I didn’t hear Heribert again for the next 8 months.

When I called him before Christmas he said that he was really happy that I called. Another photographer who followed my blog told him that I wouldn’t come back to Vienna. Well I did and so we met the same day, I showed him my new portfolio, he liked it and told me that he’ll call me once there is an assignment for me.

The first assignment

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Two days later (Friday) my cell phone rang in the afternoon and it was Heribert Corn with my first assignment. He told me about an article that was about to be published in the next issue of “Falter”. An article about one of Europes largest and most modern logistics-centers for the distribution of packages by the post. The editor visited this center already before and needed a picture or two for the article. I was told that they needed images showing the size of the place, the packages and that it wouldn’t be wrong to see workers on these images as well.

I called the contact I got from the post-office and wanted to arrange an appointment. Press date for the next “Falter” issue was Monday noon. So I had two and a half days left. Since there wasn’t much going on in this logistics-center on the weekend I arranged to come over this evening. They told me that 6 p.m. was the best time to come since most packages arrive at that time.

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No sooner said than done! I was parking my car in front of this huge hall in the south of Vienna at 6 p.m., had my camera equipment ready and smoked one last cigarette before my first “real” assignment. Ok, I was nervous. I was really nervous. I knew that it shouldn’t be too hard for me to deliver decent pictures for this half page article. I knew that the printing quality of the paper is poor and would therefore cover parts of bad pictures. But that’s not what I wanted. I wanted to do a good job. Hey, it’s my first assignment and I want to get further ones.

So I went inside the building and met the man who was responsible for the operations there. I asked him to show me around and explain me how everything works. After our trip around I told him that I would prefere to walk around myself to take some time to photograph. He agreed. So there I was standing in the middle of this huge hall, the machinery, the packages and about 80 people spread all over the place. I decided to start by walking around a little more. I wanted to talk to the clerks who worked there first in order to let them know what I was doing. My advantage was that I worked at a post office myself about 7 years ago. So I had something to start talking about. They’ve been a little suspicious in the beginning but opened up once we talked a little longer. Some of those people told me at the end that they’ve been really surprised that I actually took the time to talk to them and listen to the problems they have at work. A couple of photographers have been there before but they rushed in, took some pictures and left again.

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To make a long story short: I spend almost 7 hours there and took a whole bunch of pictures. Lightning conditions have been pretty damn bad. There was much halogen light coming from the ceilings but at the same time there was almost no light underneith the machinery where a lot of people worked. So contrasts have been high. I had to shoot with 1600 ISO and 1/15 to 1/60 of a second… Back home I downloaded all the RAW files onto my laptop and started to edit through.
No photos that I would put in my portfolio or onto my portfolio website but good enough for this job. The editor was happy although they would have prefered to have some more shots where one can actually see the size of this hall.

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And this is the article with my photograph that was published 5 days later. I would have choosen another image but that was not in my field of competence. And don’t ask for the payment, you’d start to cry.

More news and more informations on what else was or is going on in a couple of days.

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Getting Started 3: The European Commission in Vienna

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Austria took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the beginning of this year and will will chair all meetings of the Heads of State or Government and all Council meetings during the six months of its Presidency. A good possibility for me to do some work…

During the 6 months of Austrias Presidency of the Council of the European Union I want to photograph all major events that take place in Austria. But I will not only photograph the big events with important and known politicians but I do also want to photograph these small meetings, the conferences and so called expert meetings. I want to take a journalistic look behind the scenes showing every day life and bizarre situations at meetings and talks from European politicians and their work. My main goal is to have a small but nice selection of unique images of this period of time. Something a little different. Easier said than done perhaps…

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I started by photographing the first big event that took place in Vienna. A working meeting between the Austrian government and the European Commission on January 9th. Before getting there I needed media accredidation. They arranged a form for online accredidation where you have to fill in all your personal details, the number of your press card if you have one or a letter of credit from a medium you are working for.
Since this project should become a personal project and I wasn’t assigned to cover these events I simple stated my press card which I got about two years ago when I was taking pictures for a small unpaid Vienna based magazine which comes out only four times a year. Unfortunately this wasn’t enough for the officials and they asked me for a letter of credit. Hm, I might be assigned to cover one or two of these events from this newspaper “Falter” I started to photograph for but this is in no way certain and I therefore wouldn’t get this letter from them. So I called the owner of the photo agency “Contrast” in Vienna to ask him if he needs a photographer to cover these events. We met before that already once after my return from New York to talk about the photojournalism scene in Austria. A friend of mine suggested to do so since Gerhard Hinterleitner is very friendly and broadminded with advice and help. So I told him about my problem and see there… He wrote a letter of credit for me to cover these events. I am not getting paid simply for photographing and sending pictures to them but if they see photos they like and put in their database I might have a chance to sell a couple of them.

With this letter I got my accredidation for all major events and off I went Monday morning to spend my day taking pictures of this working meeting between the Austrian Government and the European Commission. Well pictures of the working meeting… Not really. Of course press access was strictly limited to three occasions. The first one was a “family photo” of all participants, 5 minutes and it was over. The second one was a press conference with Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel, the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and their spokespersons. 30 minutes of talk in front of a boring white wall and it was over. And the third one was a meeting between Austrian President Heinz Fischer and the members of the European Commission. 5 minutes and it was over again.
No need to mention that all these photo opporunities began late, partly very late, up to over an hour later than expected.

So at the end of the day I shot about 400 photographs and I haven’t really been happy with them. About a year and a half ago I photographed the funeral of former Austrian President Thomas Klestil and cardinal Franz König. I’ve been more happy with these pictures. But these have been different and visually more interesting environments as well. There was a possibility to get closer to the people and there have been much more people around. Not only politicians but by-standers and visitors. I did not have the chance for that on Monday. Everything was shut off.

So I came back with a bunch of press photos. Nothing really special but after editing through I did upload 42 of these images to the FTP server of “Contrast”. And see there… They took 20 of these photos and put them in their database. You can check the selected photographs out if you go to the website of Contrast and type in “Martin Fuchs” in the search field on the left side. So up to now I created my portfolio, had meetings with photographers and newspapers, had my first assignments for the weekly newspaper “Falter” and the latest step so far is that I have the chance to sell some of my photographs through an Austrian photo agency.

Who knows, maybe somebody will buy one of these images. And though I am not totally happy with the pictures I took I’ll continue to work on this project. I might have a better chance to get closer at these small conferences and meetings. Maybe there is less press hullabaloo going on.

By the way: Check out the photos Carl De Keyzer took at the 1997 World Economic Forum in Davos. After my fancy. 🙂

 

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How a valuable contact emerges through a coincidence

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Last weekend I went through the old city center of Vienna together with my girlfriend and we came across the traditional and well known “Imperial and Royal Court Confectionary Bakery” Demel. They are master craftsman in doing small, or from time to time large, masterpieces with marzipan, sugar icing and chocolate. These pieces of art are then displayed in the shop window of the bakery which is mostly frequented by tourists.

What the bakery created this time was a marzipan replica of Austrian Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel who is dancing with Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik. Schüssel is dressed up like Mozart wearing a white wig made out of sugar and a red brocade robe. This is a tribute to two major Austrian long time events. The Austrian Presidency of the European Union and the “Mozart Year 2006”. I found that pretty funny and just snapped four or five photos of it.

I know that I sometimes have a hard time to make a long story short, and from time to time I even make a short story long… I’ll try to get to the point now:
Yesterday a good friend of mine who is a photographer herself forwarded an e-mail to me which was send out by one of the picture editors of “Die Zeit”. That’s a very good weekly newspaper from Germany that I enjoy reading myself. This picture editor was on the lookout for a photograph showing the described marzipan replicas of Schüssel and Plassnik for their next issue. They urgently needed it on the same day because of production deadlines. Well it’s “Die Zeit”, a pretty big name… Should I send those pictures I took or shouldn’t I? I want to leave a good impression… I decided to send the photographs. I quickly converted the RAW files, color corrected the images and send them to the picture editor. At the same time I called to tell them that I just send an e-mail. The lady I was talking to looked at the images right away and told me that she can’t really use them because of too many reflections in the window. I attached my contact details as well as my portfolio website martinfuchs.com to the e-mail I was sending her and she started to look at it. We’ve been talking about some of the photos, the internship I did at Magnum and upcoming projects. She was very friendly, generous with advice and she even said that she likes what she is seeing on my website. We should stay in touch… Sounds like a good first contact for me.

After the phone call I grabed my camera, made sure everything was in working order and drove to the city to take more photographs of these marzipan figures. This time more concentrated…

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After shooting this nice couple from the inside and from the outside I called the picture desk from “Die Zeit” to ask if they still needed photographs. I’ve been told that they found an image already which is not exactly what they are looking for but they are working on the layout with it. If I am fast and have some decent shots I can still send them over and they’ll look at them. I jumped into a cab, went home, downloaded the files onto my laptop, renamed all of them, selected three images, converted the RAW files, captioned everything and send them away.

Only three minutes later the lady I was talking to before called me back to tell me that these images are way better than the ones I send in the afternoon. She was just talking to the Art Director but the layout for the article is almost finished with this other image they where using before. She apologized, thanked me for my engagement and said: “Well, if these images just would have come a little earlier…”

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An evening protest in Vienna II

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A couple of days ago the union of the Austrian Post called for a protest march against the privatization of the Austrian Post. They expected about 800 participants, about 350 came.
Anyway, they started to march at about 4:30 pm when it was almost dark. Not exactly what I’d call good light conditions to photograph. I used a flash to photograph in the beginning but I haven’t really been happy with the results. Since I didn’t have an assignment for that I decided to play round a little bit and shot without a flash and at times from 1 second to 1/6 of a second.
Obviously there is a lot of movement in the images. Usually not what I like to work with but I found the results interesting.

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