around the net 27: self-publishing to war photography


First, some history on a self-published photo project, then a link to a powerful documentary on war photographers.

A couple of weeks ago I received an email announcing my friend Cathy Murray’s newly self-published 11” x 11” calendar, Good Kitty 2009. As photographers, most (if not all) of us harbor a desire to see our work published. It’s really cool when someone you know pulls together their images and produces a product like this, publishing 5,000 pieces in her very first effort.

cathy murray cat calendar good kitty 2009

Cathy obviously has a passion for felines and photography and a calendar is a great outlet for her work. Putting a first-time project like this together totally on one’s own can be difficult, though, so she teamed up with the Citizens for Humane Action (an animal shelter in Columbus, Ohio) and an illustrator to make it all happen. Then, in true cat lover fashion, Cathy decided that her reward would be the satisfaction of a project well done and all of the proceeds would be donated to the CHA shelter.

It seems like a winner to me and a smart way to get that first project published: Cathy gets her calendar printed and learns the ropes of publishing while finding a built-in audience through a good cause. Plus, there are always residuals for “doing the right thing”. If you or anyone you know loves cats and would like to support a good cause, more info and calendars are available for order by clicking the photo above.

While I’m sure there are dangers when photographing cats, let’s now travel halfway around the world to witness the most dangerous of all photographic assignments: war photography. The other day I stumbled across a 40 minute documentary on hulu.com about two young photojournalists working in Israel’s West Bank and Gaza Strip. This really is a rare look into the lives of freelance photojournalists, chronicling their journey as they pitch ideas to editors, shoot in dangerous situations and then return to show their work to the same editors.

Talk about passion…they have nothing but their cameras to protect them from gun- and rocket-fire. They also talk about tightening budgets and the sacrifices necessary to do their jobs. If you have the time to spare, I strongly recommend watching this piece.

*Note: bummer, I just found out the hulu.com videos aren’t available outside of the U.S. I don’t want anyone to go away empty-handed so I found this 3:40 minute video segment below (subscribers can view video in post on prophotolife) from the independent film “War Photographer”, which follows James Nachtwey . Yes, we heard from Nachtwey a couple weeks ago but there’s some really spectacular footage on here,  where there’s a video camera mounted on his SLR while shooting during a conflict. It’s an interesting point of view, hearing him speak about where the photos are ultimately published while seeing his POV while photographing.

Hey, it makes me want to get out and shoot something I’m passionate about this weekend. Have a good one and I’ll see you on the other side of Sunday…

- Jim T.