Covering Libya – MIPP talk review

Dear readers,

There are many benefits of being a member of a photographic society. Not only you get to meet like minded individuals, but you are also involved in various activities: photo-walks, master-classes, exhibition openings, conventions and talks. Usually those events combine social networking with practical learning, so the more you participate, the better for you.

I know some people will disagree here. I have heard many times before that photography is a lone – wolf job and that people have no time for extracurricular activities. But let me tell you this: you can be technically outstanding and know your parameters by heart but nothing opens your eyes more than hearing another photog talk about his experiences. Being able to see though another photographer’s eyes is the most powerful and rewarding experience ever, no matter your level or skill.

Poster for MIPP talk

Poster for MIPP talk

MIPP Malta (of which Malicia is a junior member) has a broad and varied list of events. There’s something cooking nearly every week and you can choose according to your interests and preferences. However from time to time, a different kind of activity will pop up – something that simply cannot be missed.

So if you haven’t been to Darrin Zammit Lupi`s talk about Covering the Libya crisis, you may want to give yourself a healthy kick on the patata. Because you have missed much more than just a terrific meeting with one of Malta’s best visual artists. You have skipped a truly inspiring session that made people want to grab their cameras and book a flight to the nearest front line. And you can trust me on the inspiring part. I actually had a pleasure to witness this talk twice: first time in April 2012, when Darrin organized a lecture for members of Maltese Rotary Club and now with other members of MIPP. Darrin takes extreme care of his talks, he expands them, adds new photos, tells new stories and plans everything to perfection. I can safely say that in span of one year he created a brand new, more fascinating presentation.

Let me tell you a bit more about the photographer in question. If we were to quote his official bio, we would have to say that Darrin Zammit Lupi is a staff photographer at The Times of Malta and a stringer for Reuters since 1997. He holds a Masters degree in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from the University of the Arts, London, and has been a regular winner at the annual Malta Journalism Awards. The biggest stories he has worked on are irregular immigration across the Mediterranean, the evacuations following the Libya uprising and the Costa Concordia disaster. He also regularly travels to different parts of Africa on assignment for NGOs. Adding from my own perspective: Darrin also happens to be a person associated with highest quality on Maltese soil when it comes to photojournalism. I personally havent met one person who would not like him, or who would think his vision and skill in photography is lacking. Among fellow photographers he is regarded as esteemed colleague and a friend by many.

In 2011 when the Arab Spring had reached Libya, Malta found itself in the centre of world’s attention. It has became a hub for evacuations, a place from where humanitarian aid was dispatched to besieged town of Misurata, a save haven for defecting soldiers but also the battle ground between Gaddafi loyalists and those who opposed him. And Darrin followed each and every aspect of it with a camera. He attended countless demonstrations outside the Libyan Embassy, documented the plight of evacuees, and wounded journalists (like Guy Martin who was brought to Malta after being hit by shrapnel). He photographed political and military meetings. He also took two trips to Misurata (with Red Cross) and Benghzi and reported from there.

Darrin Zammit LUpi (in the middle) with some members of the audience. Yours truly is on the right hand side. Photo by Darrin Zammit Lupi.

Darrin Zammit Lupi (in the middle) with some members of the audience. Yours truly is on the right hand side. Photo by Darrin Zammit Lupi.

When advertising his talk Darrin wrote as follows: “I will talk about covering the uprising from the beginning (…) including various attempts to get into Libya, a trip to Misrata on a Red Cross aid ship at the height of the siege, and my experiences in Benghazi and Brega as the regime crumbled in Tripoli. I am not a combat photographer so I won’t be talking about that. Rather, the presentation will show what it’s like to be working on a major news story over a period of several months.” However large part of the talk was dedicated to the experiences he had in Libya itself (and in other places as Darrin also covered Albanian conflict, humanitarian crisis in Bosnia and refugees in Kosovo). Darrin spoke about what he had seen in Bosnia and how hard it was to adjust to peaceful reality at home. He recalled how his trip to Benghazi could turn fatal when Libyan rebels linked Maltese citizens to some political figures in Malta who openly supported Gaddafi. All those stories made the audience wonder what would have happen if Darrin turned freelance and decided to pursue career of a conflict photographer. One member of the audience summed it up pretty well: it was lucky for Malta that Darrin decided to avoid conflict otherwise he surely would be now a member of VII, rather than a member of Times of Malta.

Darrin’s words were illustrated by nearly one hundred images spanning though – out the year and each was described in detail. Darrin is not just a newspaper photographer. He is one of those visual journalists who have a mission. Through his art, he shows what happens to ordinary people, on the ground level, people none of us would otherwise ever hear of. I am not sure if that wasn’t the most striking aspect of the talk itself. For Darrin Zammit Lupi his work is a social service and I don’t think there was one person in the room that was not moved by his bravery and dedication.

The evening was perfect. Its truly a pleasure for reviewer to report that there was nothing to complain about. Just one thing made me ponder. When the event was promoted on social media, Times of Malta were completely mum on the topic. Not a single mention was offered on their website or on their pages. Its a sad state of affairs when a staff photographer is giving a talk on such an important matter and his own newspaper doesnt back him up.  Perhaps it was a result of overlooking but an opportunity wasted nontheless. They should have been shouting and boasting about it.

If you want to see some of the photos that illustrated the talk please click here:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.360519760699093.83087.336693509748385&type=1

You may also want to visit MIPP page on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/MippProfessionalPhotography

Darrin also has some amazing portfolio online. You can see the slideshow below. It has several images he took in Libya. I suggest that you actually watch it, you will not be dissapointed. Its jaw -dropping powerful photography.

And if you regret not coming to Darrin’s talk (and you really should!) book yourself a place on MIPP convention this October as they will host Heidi Levine – professional war correspondent and a truly talented photographer.

Poster for MIPP October 2013 convention

Poster for MIPP October 2013 convention

I know I will be there!

Xxx

Mal

April 30, 2013

“Covering the Libyan conflict” – a talk by Darrin Zammit Lupi

Corinthia San Gorg Hotel, St Julians, Malta

***Edit 04/06/2013***

A shorter version of this article has now been published in MIPP newsletter for June 2013. I have added some screenshots below but you can also read it online here:

http://issuu.com/m-i-p-p/docs/2013_june_newsletter_issuu

MIPP Newsletter for June 2013

MIPP Newsletter for June 2013

Second page of the article from MIPP JUne 2013 newsletter

Second page of the article from MIPP June 2013 newsletter

Darrin`s works (tho not from Libya) have also been recently exhibited at this years edition of Earth Garden festival. I couldnt help myself and took some shots. The images show Maltese folk and rock musicians performing at a Ghana Fest few years back. Let them be additional visual aspect to this review, for our readers enjoyment.

Earth Garden Panel 1

Earth Garden Panel 1

Earth Garden Panel 2

Earth Garden Panel 2

Earth Garden Panel 3

Earth Garden Panel 3

Earth Garden Panel 4

Earth Garden Panel 4

Earth Garden Panel 5

Earth Garden Panel 5

Earth Garden Panel 6

Earth Garden Panel 6

If you want to follow Darrin Zammit Lupi on Facebook, please check the url below:

https://www.facebook.com/DarrinZammitLupiPhotography

***Edit 09/06/2013***

I am going to add another update with some more videos showing the work Darrin did in Libya.  I managed to find some footage on Darrin`s Vimeo channel and I think this is obligatory to see at least one of them:

Reporting from Red Cross ship heading with supplies to Misurata:

Immigrants escaping the war in Libya, end up in Malta

More evacuations from Libya – this was a huge operation. That particular day I was at the Valletta Harbour as well, trying to take some photos.

Hope you enjoyed this updated review.

Mal

***Edit 20/12/2013***

We are adding another update to this entry because few things have happened regarding Covering Libya crisis talk.

In January 2013, Darrin presented this subject at the SWPP Convention in London

and it became so well received that it was picked up by Professional Imagemaker magazine. This is one of the biggest and most respected photography publications in the UK. Darrin `s photos and recollection of Libyan crisis were given 5 full pages in the August-September 2013 issue. We have finally got our hands on the issue and made our own photographic evidence.

Cover of Professional Imagemaker magazine,  August-September 2013 issue

Cover of Professional Imagemaker magazine, August-September 2013 issue

Professional Imagemaker magazine, August- September issue, page 74-75

Professional Imagemaker magazine, August- September issue, page 74-75

Professional Imagemaker magazine, August- September issue, page 76-77

Professional Imagemaker magazine, August- September issue, page 76-77

Professional Imagemaker magazine, August- September issue, page 78

Professional Imagemaker magazine, August- September issue, page 78

The brilliant thing is that two of Darrin`s photos have been also awarded in the monthly competitions in the same issue!

Another of Darrin`s photos awarded in a monthly competition.

Another of Darrin`s photos awarded in a monthly competition.

One of Darrin`s photos awarded in a monthly competition.

One of Darrin`s photos awarded in a monthly competition.

If you want to learn more about the Professional Imagemaker Magazine, just click on the URL`s below:

http://www.swpp.co.uk/professional_imagemaker/

http://professionalimagemaker.thesocieties.net/photographic-magazine-app.htm

Moreover, The Times of Malta woke up from their slumber and decided to give some coverage to their staff photographer. They ran a mention about the article in Professional Imagemaker and believe us; this is very rare that they mention achievements of their photographers. This policy of silence is usually quite disappointing considering the fact that TOM has four incredibly talented and dedicated photographers and some equally stunning freelancers to match. But on this occasion Times of Malta made a right decision and we will not complain.

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20130829/local/Libyan-crisis-in-focus.483918#.UrTH5bSRK4k

Darrin Zammit Lupi will take part in SWPP Convention in January 2014 and this time around he will speak about working as a photojournalist. So if you will be in London town this winter and want to attend, visit the website at:

http://swpp.co.uk/convention/2014/title-class-Zammit-Lupi110079PhotojournalismSunday.htm

M+R

Ten green bottles and an exhibition

Click, click, bang, bang!

The flyer

The flyer

Dear photographers, we truly owe you an apology. This review was supposed to be published in January but got lost in the vast archives and forgotten for a bit. Luckily, Mal has re-discovered it last night and here you go – an excellent report from photography event is now online for your enjoyment! Please excuse the slight delay!

TEN GREEN  BOTTLES AND AN EXHIBITION

Every time we write about our photographer friend – Kevin Casha – it is because he is having an exhibition. And on each occasion in our reviews, we mention food (see HERE and HERE). Perhaps our minds are acting funny and link those things together: the photography and the food. But perhaps there is a good reason for it. Anybody who is taking photography seriously will tell you a simple truth: you run around with heavy gear all day long, you deal with demanding people, you edit at nights. You consider yourself lucky, if you have time to grab a burger and a cup of coffee. It is no surprise that you start to appreciate what’s on your plate when you have a day off and time to do some cooking! Also this industry (or art in general) doesn’t pay well, so we are all starving artists in a sort of way.

Exhibition flyer

Exhibition flyer

Ten Green Bottles official logo

Ten Green Bottles official logo

Those who know us and Kevin will agree, that all three of us hold culinary arts in high esteem.  You may wonder what is the point of this longish and (pseudo) philosophical entrée. If you got to this point you have already guessed that Kevin had a new exhibition and that food was involved.  But this time it was no finger food but luxurious sweets, chocolates and exquisite wine. All thanks to a venue called Ten Green Bottles.

Ten Green Bottles Entrance

Ten Green Bottles Entrance

Selections of wines available at Ten Green Bottles

Selections of wines available at Ten Green Bottles

Hampers!

Hampers!

Ten Green Bottles have not been chosen by accident. Named after popular children song, this retail outlet specialize in affordable wines from all over the globe . They also offer many local and international spirits, including a good selection of single-malt Scotch Whiskey. But TGB is not only known for their ability to satisfy the most fastidious and particular customers. The venue has 650 m2 of beautifully decorated storage/exhibition space that can be used for tutored wine tastings, media launches, corporate and artistic events. Located in Zebbug, on Mdina Road, the place is easily accessible by car and public transport. Combination of all of the above, make Ten Green Bottle a perfect spot for entertainment. Since we have missed the opening night, we decided to visit Ten Green Bottles on our own on 29th of December and see everything for ourselves. In short – we loved the art, the store, the wine and the food to bits. And especially The Very Sexy Shiraz – exclusive drink from a place called Darling in South Africa (we bought a bottle for a friend who was really delighted!)

This is what we call party supplies!

This is what we call party supplies!

Sweets on display

Sweets on display

Mini-bar

Mini-bar

If you’d like to visit, 10 Green Bottles are opened every single day between 10:00 am and 19:30 on weekdays and between 9:30 and 13:30 on Saturdays. Their official Facebook page can be found here:  https://www.facebook.com/TenGreenBottlesMalta

You can also find more information about  Very Sexy Shiraz here:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Very-Sexy-Shiraz/6787307772

Ten green bottles were standing on the...table

Ten green bottles were standing on the…table

The most delicious food and the drinks, however, were nothing in comparison to the photographic celebration entitled “Transitions” that was the main reason of our visit. Advertised as “Voyeurism through different perspectives”, this collaborative exhibition by Kevin Casha & Ali Bosios was opened on 11th of December 2013 and  lasted until the first days of January 2013. We were probably some of the last people to see it but it made a huge impression on us. Mal considers it to be one of the highlights of 2012 among photographic events.  Kevin Casha and Ali Bosios are skilled artists and nobody needs to be convinced about their use of cameras and lenses. However, Transitions, was something more than just official display of talent. Kevin was returning to the roots of his trade and looked for the elements that made him interested in taking pictures in the first place. Ali – who begins her artistic journey – just had her baptism of fire.

Exhibition review by Therese Debono

Exhibition review by Therese Debono

Second page of the review. Therese is a talented photographer in her own right. Please visit her page at: www.facebook.com/theresedebono

Second page of the review. Therese is a talented photographer in her own right. Please visit her page at: www.facebook.com/theresedebono

Kevin Casha

http://kevincasha.com
https://www.facebook.com/kevin.casha

Kevin can put many titles next to his name: multi award winning photographer,  Malta Photographic Society’s (MPS) Photographer of the Year (1986, 1991, 1993, 1994) and Malta Institute of Professional Photography’s (MIPP) first Photographer of the Year in 2004,  president of MIPP. One of the most awarded photographers in Maltase history. Teacher and artist. He has trained hundreds of aspiring photographers and students, helped organized countless events, exhibitions and seminars – we could write books about him and there still would be much to tell. Kevin Casha is a true legend and one of the pillars of Maltase professional photography. Having a chance to see his works in real life is a privilege and we enjoy each opportunity. This time, Kevin’s pictures were stripped to minimum, to their bare core. Forget about years of experience and tricks you know. Put away the expensive cameras and lenses, say no to the digital image processing. The only things you could see in the frame were the raw emotions and black and white palette.

Kevin Casha's pictures on the exhibition

Kevin Casha’s pictures on the exhibition

Another picture of Kevin's work

Another picture of Kevin’s work

Three of Kevin`s prints

Three of Kevin`s prints

It is not easily to return to your roots, but Kevin once again was successful. His images were perfect in each detail, yet they were very simple at the same time. Looking at them you got the impression, they formed a part of news article or larger series of pictures from event coverage.  They touched on different topics: social issues, every day activities and street life. The simplicity was their biggest strength – they were powerful shots of modern society we have created and that we live in. Use of only two colours did not limit the influence the pictures had on the viewer, they told a story and the message was crystal clear. We only wish it have been easier to photograph the frames – the sunshine coming from outside was almost blinding and the sunrays and reflections are sadly visible on our shots. Mal has tried her best, but it was impossible to win with Mediterranean sun!

Kevin statement

Kevin statement

Rita's favourite picture taken by Kevin

Rita’s favourite picture taken by Kevin

Ali Bosios

http://www.alibosios.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ali.bosios
Ali’s artwork can be seen here: http://alibosios.wordpress.com/

Alixandra Bosios aka Ali, is one of the most intriguing and immensely talented young photographers on the island. Born in 1987, Ali showed an interest in photography at the tender age of 5, when she discovered an old SLR camera. For the next several years, she would constantly borrow her parents’ equipment to experiment and learn, proving that her love for pictures was not just a child’s play. Miss Bosios is currently a fine art student at MCAST Institute of Art & Design specializing in nude portraits and artistic photography. The creative traits run deep in her family and Ali is following the footsteps of her great grandfather, Professor Giuseppe Briffa (1901 -1988), a prominent Maltese artist whose paintings are decorating numerous churches on the Island and Gozo.

Ali's black and white picture we liked the most

Ali’s black and white picture we liked the most

Another stunning picture by Ali during the exhibition

Another stunning picture by Ali during the exhibition

It is hard to believe that Ali started exhibiting her works just three years ago. However, in such a short period of time, she managed to secure several domestic exhibits and two international ones. Her first professional show was at Soul Source Festival in Floriana where she displayed her 7 Deadly Sins pictures for Sinful Clowns Collection.  In 2012, Ali showed Gas Mask Collection at Monte Kristo Estates (www.montekristo.com) and it proved to be an instant success. The photographs portraying the contrast between soft human skin and the harshness of the masks were so popular, that Ali received invitation to art gallery in Paris.  “Transitions” was the first opportunity for Ali to showcase her works with one of her teachers from Malta Institute of Professional Photography’s (MIPP) – Kevin Casha. Miss Bosios is a member of MITT and recently received her first qualification (LMIPP). Please keep your eyes wide open, as Ali is going to work during the summer on new series of photographs. The results will be presented to the audience probably in the autumn.

Ali statement during the exhibition

Ali statement during the exhibition

Ali's work in detail

Ali’s work in detail

Beauty in monochrome

Beauty in monochrome

For the exhibition, both artists contributed exactly 11 pictures each, shot only in black and white. All photographs were boarded with identical, simple black frames and hung on the walls in straight lines. Despite differences in topic, Kevin’s bare photojournalism and Ali’s creative fashion were ideally matched. You could move quickly from one panel to the other and the flow of emotions was not disturbed by any sudden change or disruption. Some of the visitors had probably complained about the pictures being too static and slow but we loved the cold sensation emerging from them and the (almost) still-life quality. Faces, poses, silhouettes, hands movement, distant looks – there is a vortex of fierce feelings hidden under the thick layer of mundane existence. It takes the heart of an artist and the observant eye of the photographer to uncover the riches of motionlessness to the public.

If you are curious for more reading, here is a set of links you may want to visit:

The Event – Past  Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/269642043158646/

The event review in MIPP newsletter (written by lovely Therese Debono)
http://issuu.com/m-i-p-p/docs/2013_january_newsletter_for_issuu_revised

MIPP
http://www.mipp-malta.com/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/308867885792902/

Rita and Mal would like to thank to all who made the exhibition possible!
Thank you and see you all soon!

xxxx
R+D

The Times of Malta Picture Annual 2012 – review

 Dear Readers,

All the Annuals in my collection

All the Annuals in my collection

I was planning to write this review few months ago (in December 2012 to be exact) but I kept on pushing it away in time. Partly because my life tends to get hectic on work – home – health – survival line, partly because I didn’t know what to say. It may sound peculiar, after all reviews are about books being summarized and presented to the potential reader. Hardly a rocket science, especially if you are running a blog.

But truth be told, it doesn’t matter how many pages of text you had delivered in your life. Some topics will be either so complex or personal or simply hard to approach, that they will leave you blank for a long while.

It is easy to be a critic these days. Anybody can be and everybody is doing it on the Internet. People shout about things, believing themselves to be right to tell others what to like and what to hate. And often what they represent is criticism of the lowest lows.

I have no interest to join a clique. Perhaps I am stubborn, but I want to write about things I care about. Things that I am passionate about.

Cover of The Times Picture Annual 2006

Cover of The Times Picture Annual 2006


“Photojournalism is a service industry. It provides awareness”

 Those who know me, will vouch that I can be one-track minded, obsessed even. Start me on photography and I turn monothematic. I can go on for hours. I have been dabbling in the medium for a while now; I don’t leave the house without my Canon camera. I devour any bit of information regarding photography: movies, documentaries, books, articles. I never seem to have enough.

 I have a huge respect for photographers because it is not an easy career path. I admire their bravery, their selflessness, their dedication and contribution to society. As an aspiring student of the medium, I can at times idolize them. I put certain photographers on pedestals.  One of the issues with this review was that I know personally people behind The Times of Malta Picture Annual and some of them I even call friends. It’s hard to be objective then.

There are four main photographers at The Times of Malta/The Sunday Times:  Darrin Zammit – Lupi (who also acts as an editor for the Picture Annual books), Chris Sant Fournier, Matthew Mirabelli (he was Picture Annual acting editor in 2008) and Jason Borg. Recently, Paul Spiteri Lucas, Mark Zammit Cordina and Paul Zammit Cutajar had joined the team on more or less regular basis.

Over the course of six years this bunch of photographers has been working long hours for months on end. There were times when they came home to sleep at 5 am; they have missed time with their families. Occasionally, they been so tired that they could hardly talk but still were able to deliver. They have won highest industry honours; some of them have been beaten or threatened while on the job.

Cover of The Times Picture Annual 2008

Cover of The Times Picture Annual 2008

These aspects of photojournalist’s work are often overlooked when you see the glossy, beautifully printed picture book. All the sacrifice, long working hours, lack of any personal time and sometimes danger encountered in this field of work cannot be translated and put into the final product. Photos and stories that photographers document take a central stage and what happens to the photographer is not that important.

Photographers are observers, for most of the time they are invisible. And as James Nachtwey put it, photojournalism is a service industry; it provides society with awareness.

Sorry haven’t been in touch, am so bogged down in a big project at work”

 I have met all four Times of Malta photographers in October 2006 during a very boring journalism course. We have been teaching the teacher but it proved to be a fantastic networking exercise, at least for yours truly.  In the weeks afterwards, I have been trying to get some criticism of my photos and sent an email to Darrin Zammit – Lupi asking for advice.  He didn’t have time to offer tips but told me something much more interesting. His first message was as follows:

“Sorry haven’t been in touch, been so bogged down in a big project at work, all I’m managing to squeeze in is work and few hours sleep every night. A project which, I’ve no doubt, you’ll find very interesting once it’s launched next month.”

Curiosity killed the cat. I began to ask him more and more questions, poor Darrin must have felt interrogated.  Yet his next email offered some answers:

“Project is a photography book; being published first or second week of December…you should start seeing adverts for it from next week. Editing a photo book has been a lot tougher than I imagined, but what a fabulous experience it’s been”.

This was the first time I ever heard about the Picture Annual.  When the book came out in December 2006, it blew me away. It was 192 pages, offered several categories (news, daily life, people in the news, sports), had international news photos section and only costed 16 EUR. Each photo was printed separately on one page on a high quality paper. It felt more like an art-book than your usual photography publication. There was a fantastic introduction by Victor Aquilina in the beginning of the book explaining the idea behind the it. Mr. Aquilina is the former editor of The Times of Malta and a true force behind the whole project.

Cover of The Times Picture Annual 2009

Cover of The Times Picture Annual 2009

The Picture Annual was received very well by the readers and general public. I could tell you few jaws hit the floor in the community because people would’t believe it was possible for a small Island like Malta to have a proper photojournalistic publication.  It turned out to be a first book in an ongoing series. The project now established itself as an award winning publication. With seven books on the market, the latest one was issued in December 2012.

Yes, the one I will finally review, so read on.

“Here’s my EUR 27, what do I get?”

When I was buying my copy of Picture Annual 2012, the person next to me uttered this question to the seller.  “A bloody good book” – was the reply and it can serve for a review if you have no time to read my story – telling. You get a great quality of a publication that can stand proudly on your shelf or act as a great gift. Great value for your hard – earned cash, if I have to say that.

But it is a bit lame.  I would waste several great resources if I was just concentrating on value for money.  For example, do you know how the Picture Annual is made? How the images are selected, how the editor works?

Cover of The Times Picture Annual 2010

Cover of The Times Picture Annual 2010

Scroll down and see the link below. It will take you to an article for 2009 edition. The movie there is actually a three minute description about the production stage of the Picture Annual by Editor Darrin Zammit – Lupi. There is nothing better than to hear it from the main source:

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20091223/local/best-press-photos-of-2009.287038

Also, in the press there have been two great reviews that deal with the historic and aesthetic aspects of press photography.  If you have some time to spare, it is a very interesting read.

By Kenneth Zammit-Tabona:

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20130106/books/Memories-are-made-of-this.452226

And by Patrick Fenech (a great photog himself):

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20130102/arts-entertainment/creating-the-decisive-moment.451716

Let me also make note that this year The Times Picture Annual 2011 edition was awarded second place in the non-fiction category of this year’s National Book Award. The video below is in Maltese but if you want to see the editor sweating it out in a suit just scroll to 1:06 😉

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20121221/local/prize-for-the-times-picture-annual.450457

Cover of The Times Picture Annual 2011

Cover of The Times Picture Annual 2011

Right, praises and additional reading aside, time for statistics 🙂

The Times Picture Annual 2012 is 192 pages long (if you don’t count the cover), filled with 150 images printed on a 150 gsm silk matte paper (same type of paper used for publishing art books if you ask). So from the start you get a very good quality paper, beautiful and detailed printing.

The book is divided into several categories such as: news, people in the news, daily life, arts and entertainment, sports and foreign news. The last section consists of images from Reuters and AFP photographers (although Darrin Zammit – Lupi is featured there with his photo of drowned cruise liner Costa Concordia).

Pictures cover the period between November 11, 2011 and November 10, 2012.

It has been a very hectic year: floods (in the Birkirkara area), political meetings (5+5 Dialogue Summit), state funerals (former Prime Minister Dom Mintoff, former President Vincent Tabone), murders (Duncan Zammitt who was killed in front of his newly born twins on New Years Day) and rock concerts (annual Isle of MTV concert in Floriana).  Life in Malta is never dull and the photos tell the extraordinary story of life that unfolds on a daily basis.

Cover of The Times Picture Annual 2012

Cover of The Times Picture Annual 2012

Some pages will make you weep. Photo on the page 40 shows Former President Vincent Tabone celebrating his 70th wedding anniversary with his wife Mary on November 23, 2011. Page 41 shows the coffin of Mr Tabone being taken out of church on March 15th 2012. Life and death in just four months. Both images have been captured by the same photographer.

Some pages will make you smile, like the photo of Charles Cremona (on page 81) who waves a big Maltese flag to greet cruise liners visiting the island from the roof of his house (he has since became an unofficial institution).

There is an aww – factor on page 94 that displays a photo of two young boys and a pug. The best picture ever to show why you need to have a pet.

And the action and drama is portrayed on page 156 during a football match between Italy and Malta on September 12, 2012.

A true roller-coaster of emotions, it can make your head spin.

Is there something I don’t like in the book, you may ask. Not in particular, however I wish some things were added. I have mentioned before that over the years, the team of photographers has been enlarged. The staff photogs have been joined by regulars and freelancers and the book shows it.  There are some good shots by Natalino Fenech or Ian Pace for example in the Picture Annual and it would be very cool to learn something about the photographers. A small bio in the contributor’s column would go a long way I believe, especially since the four staff photographers enjoy large bios in the book.

The foreigner news section mostly consists of Reuters and AFP photographers. It would be fantastic thing if it was opened to include AP, Noor or VII or other agencies. I know it may be not possible technically but just imagine how diverse it would be.

Last but also very important – 2006 and 2007 editions are out of print. Perhaps it is time to think about re-runs?

If you want to buy yourself a copy of The Times Picture Annual, please scroll down to the online shop:
http://books.timesofmalta.com/title.shtml?s=2E0B5B85-7DD414234035-65C6&sa=30

You may also follow The Times Picture Annual on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Times-Picture-Annual/213637462921

By following, you will be able to also see the newspaper’s Picture of the Week feature. It’s a good exercise, trying to guess which image will make it to the Picture Annual for 2013.

*****

Flyer for Darrin Zammit - Lupi talk about Libyan conflict

Flyer for Darrin Zammit – Lupi talk about Libyan conflict

All right, readers. Hands up if you are still paying attention. There’s something you should know and you don’t want to miss it.  The editor of Picture Annual, Darrin Zammit Lupi will be having a talk on his coverage of Libyan conflict for members of MIPP on 30th April 2013 at Corinthia San Gorg Hotel in St Julians. If you ever wanted to become a member of MIPP but never had the right incentive, now you do. This will not only be a great occasion to meet one of the best photojournalists on this island, but  you can actually see up close and personal  how journalists cover a major story for a number of months. Darrin is not a war shooter, so there will be no corpses or blood (sorry to disappoint!) but he has some amazing stories to tell and you can learn a lot.

Please scroll down to the even page on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/145971265581724

Or see the newest MIPP newsletter for details:

http://issuu.com/m-i-p-p/docs/2013_april_newsletter_issuu

MIPP  newsletter (April 2013) showcasing the `Libyan Conflict` talk by Darrin Zammit Lupi

MIPP newsletter (April 2013) showcasing the `Libyan Conflict` talk by Darrin Zammit Lupi

Below you will find all the resources you may want to follow up the work of Darrin Zammit – Lupi:

https://www.facebook.com/DarrinZammitLupiPhotography

www.darrinzammitlupi.com/

http://darrinzammitlupi.wordpress.com/

http://blogs.reuters.com/darrinzammitlupi/

Thank you for your attention (I did warn you I could go on forever on my favourite subject!)

malicia

Private Art exhibition review

Society in the mirror (with a lens)

You know, this is going to sound pretty hilarious, but did you realize that photography is ancient? In the literary sense of the word. Primitive cameras (camera obscura) have been around since V century BC, components of traditional printing (silver chloride and silver nitrate) were discovered in the middle ages (XII-XIV century), and the term photography was coined in 1834 by Hercules Florence. Since Victorian times, whole generations were raised carrying smaller or larger gears, and scarring passers – by in the streets.

One of the vintage prints from National Archives.

One of the vintage prints from National Archives.

Opening shot

Opening shot

Yes, you are reading it right. Going places with a camera and getting shots of strangers has a long and established history. It is actually having its own art form within the photographic universe: street photography.

Street photography is closely related to her two younger sisters: documentary photography and photojournalism. But since documentary is dead serious and hysterical at times and photojournalism is wild and follows news exclusively, street photography had to find middle ground. She carved herself a niche by being observant, candid and true to historical aspect, but also by being ironic and focusing on less important issues of our daily lives.

The credits

The credits

Street photography is extremely user friendly and gets along with both professionals and amateurs. She doesn’t really care if you use a high tech mobile, digital SLR, an outdated Leica or a Holga that has holes in its body to make a picture. If you want to get outdoors and immerse yourself in the fabric of life, she will take you on a journey, even if you walk around the block. All she requires is an open mind and a patient eye.

If street photography was a real person and she would enter St James Cavalier Center for Creativity in Valletta last weekend (26 – 27 January 2013), she would have been proud. And flattered. Because, for the first time (in a really long while), we had a proper event dedicated to this form of photographic art. There was two – day  `live in` exercise that included a photographic walk (Saturday morning) and printing session (Sunday morning), a discussion (Saturday evening) and a month long display of images, both vintage and modern (running until February 25, 2013). Something for everyone.

This print is originally in colour. By Armand Sciberras

This print is originally in colour. By Armand Sciberras

Kevin Casha channeling the spirit of Steve McCurry

Kevin Casha channeling the spirit of Steve McCurry

Despite stormy weather, morning activities gathered a group of fifteen enthusiasts who delivered a powerful panel of works from the day. Images from the walk were incorporated into the exhibition and adorn one of the walls at Lower Galleries of St James. If you had missed the exercise itself (like me), you can still see the outcome of it.

Photos taken during `live in` exercice

Photos taken during `live in` exercice

The print of Sergio Muscat - my favourite

The print of Sergio Muscat – my favourite

Evening discussion (dubbed “The Round Table”) gathered photographers, lawyers, journalists and government officials to debate privacy concerns, the rights of the photographers and pros and cons of digital era where everybody is snapping away like there is no tomorrow. Below, you can find a small clip of the talk posted on YouTube (the video was taken by Alan Falzon). Again, the weather scared away many people but still, discussion was heated. I mean it’s really hard to find a common ground between the right to privacy of people in the open space and the right of photographers to practice their hobby. Photographers were standing by their “shoot first, deal with the rest later” rule while lawyers and government officers were doing their best to counter – attack with paragraphs and clauses. At some point the discussion got a bit on the negative side when one person from the audience stated that in the digital era everybody was under surveillance.  I argued back that heavy use of social media and phones doesn’t mean impending doom – rather it offers a chance to build a collective conscience and a common understanding. I must have channeled James Nachtwey in that moment, but really, I can’t stomach conspiracy theories.

On Sunday evening, the official opening of the exhibition took place. Entitled “Private Art – Exploring the relationship between art and privacy”, it features ten photographers. Each of them takes on a separate topic with a series of 5 prints. There is also a small section of eight vintage prints from National Archives – showing Malta from the turn of the XX century to the wild 60s. The exposition is curated by Vince Briffa, Joe Zammit Lucia, Sergio Muscat and Kevin Casha. All except for Vince have also contributed to the exhibit.

Therese Debono and her friends posing at the opening of the exhibition

Therese Debono and her friends posing at the opening of the exhibition

The Green window - a project executed by Alan Falzon

The Green Window – a project executed by Alan Falzon

Kevin Casha concentrated on the outskirts of the society and people who have been outside of the mainstream of life (“The Emarginated”), Joe Zammit – Lucia embarked on a search for the identity of the inhabitants of the EU (“The Europeans”) while Sergio Muscat took a rather personal approach to the theme of loneliness in “7 000 000 000 : 1”. Other participants include: David “dp” Attard (with his take on “Clash of Civilisation” by Samuel P Huntington), Martin Agius (“Religious Processions” – quite a photojournalistic record), Alan Falzon (documenting life in one spot in his series “The Green Window”) and Armand Sciberras (dynamic study of living fast in “Rush 24”).

The Clash of Civilisation according to David `dp` Attard

The Clash of Civilisation according to David `dp` Attard

European indentity by Joe Zammit Lucia

European identity by Joe Zammit Lucia

Ladies make a strong presence to the exhibition with Therese Debono exploring her “City Life” after a trip to New York, Kerstin Arnemann portraying “Street performers” busking around and Tomoko Goto documenting “Café Servers in Valletta”.

All together, the exhibition, often toned down to monochrome, is a wonderful collection of human emotions, short –lived moments frozen on print and a general soul searching for what really means to be a human being in today’s society.

Street performer by Kerstin Arnemann

Street performer by Kerstin Arnemann

Religious procession by Martin Agius

Religious procession by Martin Agius

I have forgotten who said that camera was nothing more than a mirror with a lens in which human beings could see their true faces. It may seem like a tool designed to steal people’s privacy but for those who look at the world through a viewfinder it is much more than that. Camera gives a photographer a rare chance to enter people’s lives; it offers a chance to see them at their weakest, most intimate, sometimes in their darkest hour. It puts a duty on a photographer to be at the service of the people, to portray them with dignity and compassion. You record and bear witness, observe and save moments from being lost. It may be just a small thing, a gesture, an occurrence that lasts for a second only. But once captured, it becomes a part of our collective consciousness, of what we are.

City Walk with Therese Debono

City Walk with Therese Debono

Newcomer Tomoko Goto brave take on a topic that has been photographed so many times.

Newcomer Tomoko Goto brave take on a topic that has been photographed so many times.

If you are curious how society is seen by a group of talented local photographers some of whom are my colleagues and friends, you will be most welcomed to visit St James Cavalier in Valletta.

I can vouch you wont be disappointed.

More information at:

http://www.mipp-malta.com/
http://www.kevincasha.com

xxx

Malicia

Ps. However, you may be disappointed to hear that the food at the opening was delicious, so if you don’t want to miss out next time around at least in this department, keep future MIPP events in your diary 😉

[Edit 04/02/3013]

Our review has been published in the MIPP (Malta Institute of Professional Photography) Newsletter for February 2013! Malicia is a junior MIPP member and she is very proud!

Article published in MIPP newsletter for February 2013

Article published in MIPP newsletter for February 2013

You may also see it online here:
http://mipp-malta.com/images/stories/PDFs/2013_02_February.pdf

Its a second time my review is published in the MIPP newsletter. Good day!

mal x

The Likeness Project – exhibition by Kevin Casha

Hey there!

Exhibition poster

It’s been a while since I`ve seen a good photography exhibition in Malta, especially a local one. You know something different than luzzu, bastions, door knobs and fishing villages. Not like we have no good photographers on the Island. To be honest we seem to have many talented artists per square mile, but there is a sense of stagnation sometimes. Nothing to grab you by your clothes, shake you and scream: “hey you, look at me. I am different!” I like my exhibitions like I like my movies:  thoughts provoking, daring and leaving me with a sensation of seeing something I have never seen before.  Call me demanding or spoiled, I am constantly on the look – out for the wow-factor. And no, it doesn’t have to have a big budget. It just simply needs to grab my attention in one way or another.

One of the exhibited panels

After two really disappointing exhibitions that I have seen at Notte Bianca, I finally had luck to stumble upon “The Likeness Project” – a recent display of works by Kevin Casha at St James Cavalier Center for Creativity in Valletta.  It was, as cliché saying goes, a breath of fresh air for my sense of aesthetics.

I will be honest. Kevin and I go a long way back; we have known each other for years. I first met him during Aperture seminar in October 2006. Freshly out of a journalism course (which was very disappointing!) I wanted to network with the local photographic community. As I virtually knew nobody, I half dragged a friend along with me.

I managed to find the original Aperture seminar email invitation. The actual date was 24 October 2006. That how long I know Kevin!

I managed to find the original Aperture seminar email invitation. The actual date was 24 October 2006. That how long I know Kevin!

She was bored out of her mind twenty minutes into the panel and spent the rest of the evening next to the finger food table. I was hopelessly cruising among the crowd trying to find somebody to talk to. I finally stopped in front of a guy who looked like a soul of the party and asked him something terribly silly. Instead of dissing me, he spent next two hours explaining me how local community worked and introduced me to half of the room.  At the end he recommended I take my friend home while she still fits through the door. That’s Kevin for you – incredibly helpful and friendly, with a particular sense of humor.

Panel #2

Exhibition set up

Since then we have been through many photographic events, panels, conventions and courses together. I attended his workshops and consider him a good friend.  That of course, doesn’t cloud my preferences. I have seen several exhibitions by Kevin over the years and not liked all of them. We have this sort of relationship that he will always offer an honest critique of my works and I will always tell what I really think of his exhibitions.

So what’s the wow-factor in his recent body of work? Will it sound intriguing if I say that Kevin decided to ditch all the photoshops, all the air brushes and all the glamour and moved back to the origins of photography? He still did all the work digitally, but kept the post production side of things to a bare minimum, just like in the good old days.

Displayed works

Kevin Casha is primarily a glamour/studio photographer. He works with people that look like a million euro and this is just for starters. He excels in colour, captures unique beauty of fashion. I have seen him at work in the studio on several occasions. His works is usually striking combination of human beauty and vibrant palette. Imagine then my surprise when I have entered Lower Galleries at St James Cavalier and found myself surrounded by a series of black and white portraits.

Each panel was divided into 5 smaller images of the same person, shown from different sides. People with no make-up, with widely flowing hair, like they have ran into the studio a minute before and had no time to prepare themselves. Ordinary people, not models. Friends and perhaps relatives even.

More works!

But that’s not all. On each panel, two upper images were shadows (silhouettes shot against the background) three lower  images formed a classical profile (left-center-right) composition. Basic studio work, probably the first exercise every photography student does when they start their practice.

To the mix, Kevin had thrown his own definition of what portraiture was and quotes from the greatest minds that ever stood behind the lens. Everything printed simply on white pages and hanged neatly on the walls.

General view

It was a very strange experience to stand there in front of those people on the photos. You began to wonder who they were and what their story was. I am not sure if that was intended but it reminded me of police mug shots practice. Before I knew my mind started to come up with stories of crime and passion and old detective intrigues. The old times of femme fatales and Chandler characters.

The black and white photography really helped to bring that nostalgic aspect in my eyes. It is timeless; it takes you back to the beginning of the medium, to the golden era of Magnum agency, where cameras were bulky and rare but they were opening a world of exciting adventures and possibilities.  Not like today where people have a phone that is smarter than they are and the only excitement you are offered is to see what your friends had for lunch (via Instagram). I am of course exaggerating but you get my point.

Guest book entry

More entries in the guestbook

I am really grateful to Kevin for that experiment with old school photography. It gave me a much needed creative stimulation and renewed my faith in local photographic exhibitions.

Business card showing Kevin`s usual studio work. Pretty!

I am illustrating this entry with my shots from the night; I have kept to the documentary tradition and shot in monochrome with 50 mm lens and 400 ISO (if you are not familiar with photography, this will be the closest I could get to the old classic Leicas).

You can follow Kevin Casha http://kevincasha.com

or you can learn more about his exhibition on his blog

www.kevincasha.com/blog/the-likeness-project/

Thanks for reading.

Malicia

[Edit 03/12/2012]

Wow, I haven’t been expecting that! My post about Kevin’s exhibition got a special feature in a MIPP newsletter in December. MIPP (Malta Institute of Professional Photography) is a photographic association of which I am a junior member. It took two whole pages of text and photos.  I have attached some screenshots, but you can also access this newsletter as a PDF under this address:

http://www.mipp-malta.com/images/stories/PDFs/2012_12_December.pdf

MIPP December 2012 newsletter - credit page. I got "special feature". Yay!

MIPP December 2012 newsletter – credit page. I got “special feature”. Yay!

If anybody feels like joining MIPP, please have a look at:

http://www.mipp-malta.com

or follow them on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/MippProfessionalPhotography

MIPP newsletter - first page

MIPP newsletter – first page

I don’t want to sound pompous, but I am so proud of myself. To be very honest, for a long time I have been secretly thinking of writing some photography related articles, perhaps I will have now an incentive to gather my courage and publish some, even if on my other blog (http://ontestinggrounds.wordpress.com/). Its not like I know everything, but I have discovered some pieces and bits of knowledge and I had this urge to share. Now I think I even should!

MIPP newsletter - last page

MIPP newsletter – last page

Thank you MIPP guys. I truly love you. Even, if you have to put up with my sarcastic sense of humour and my one-track-minded love for photojournalism and combat photography!

xxx

Mal

TEDxValletta (backlog entry #1)

Hi there!

The official logo

This entry was prepared to be posted in February. Unfortunately, this year is extremely busy so we not always have time to keep up with the blog. So a lot of backlog is prepared and I am going to be posting the entries in spare moments.

If you excuse us we will go back in time and mention a fantastic conference we attended.  It was called TED x Valletta: Innovation meets Inspiration.

We have just learned that a new one will be taking place on 11/11/2011 ( you can watch the trailer HERE), so this is probably the best moment to say what a wonderful experience it was.

18th of February 2011 proved itself to be one of those hectic days with a tight schedule and a lot or running. But once a day like this is over and you look back, you see how much fun it was. The conference was in the morning, then in the evening we attended Patrick Duff concert (we will write about it in the near future but we are not sure what in form it will be yet). Plus it was pouring nearly all the time. You can imagine.

If you are not familiar with TED conferences, it stands for Technology Entertainment and Design. It started over 25 years ago and is currently curated by an NGO – Sapling Foundation. TED offers a platform to exchange visions, ideas, and practical tips on variety of topics ranging from technology to culture and beyond. It is often done in a form of conferences or talks that are recorded and then made available online.

TED is located in the US so not everyone can be in attendance. That’s why a special program called TEDx was created. It is basically an independent event in the form of a TED conference hosted locally.  So far it happened in around 60 countries.

Official logo for TEDxValletta

TEDxValletta was organized at St James Cavalier in Valletta. It was curated by Mrs Deborah Webster.  She was not only a moderator of the event but herself being a leader and advisor; she offered many useful tips between the talks.  But what really impressed us about her was the way Mrs Webster handled the crowd. She doesn’t speak loudly, actually on occasion she was just decibels above the whisper, yet she captured your attention immediately.  Usually there are some chit chatters at the back of the room at conferences which sometimes makes us irritated but this time around nobody dared to utter a word.  We don’t know how Mrs Webster is doing it, but we wish she’d share her secret. 🙂

On the panels we had some really amazing and inspirational speakers:  Dr Tanya Sammut – Bonnici from Edward De Bono Institute at University of Malta, Christoph Glaser from International Association for Human Values or Jo Simpson from Coaching and Mentoring Middle East LLC among others.  It was a mix of talks about how technology and philosophy influence each other, to how to use your intuition and how not to be afraid of even most radical changes (brilliant presentation!) and how to be a complete human being (and still be a successful person).

Photo by Mal

But there was a certain talk that really deserves a mention. It was done by Mr Nitten Nair. He is a student of University of Malta. He offered a short yet humorous (and insightful!) presentation on Indian mythology and its references to modern living and culture.  You should have seen him talk. We immediately felt drawn to his ideas as we love old legends, myths and we often use them as reference in our work, especially the stories we write.  Mr Nair may be young but we can tell you that we will hear from him in the future.

We really loved our time at TEXxValletta. But that doesn’t mean there were no setbacks.  The networking part didn’t work out at all. Attendants preferred to discuss in their own private circles and ignored you at times.  Many people left during the break or right after the conference.  Some talks were also not fortunate. We don’t want to discourage Ms Diana Tircomnicu but her panel (dedicated to job market situation and the young generation – Gen Y, as she named it) was confusing and ill-timed. Ms Tircomnicu seems to aim at high academia but didn’t manage to escape stereotypes and generalizations. Statement such as “all young people are not interested in politics” sounded extremely unfair when it is young people (and often younger than the panellist) that fight and die for democracy and human rights in the Middle East at the moment.  We can also assure that we know many people in the West who are extremely conscious about politics. We will blame the generalizations and ism`s in the talk on lack of experience and perhaps lack of time to prepare the panel.  We are sure that next time around Ms Tircomnicu will do just brilliantly.

Digital polaroid by Mal

It turned out to be a long post, but we really wanted to tell you our feelings about it. All in all it was time worth spent and we wish to see more events like this in the future.

For now, we run off to do more work. No rest for the wicked;)

Have a brilliant Sunday,

M+R