Monthly Archives: September 2010

Meet Joe Photographer: The TSA’s Silhouetted Symbol of a Terrorist

Don't forget to wear your hoodie on your next terror assignment!!


Ay Carumba!  As if photographers didn’t already have enough problems with overzealous police officers and security guards drunk with power harassing us in public places?

Now we’ve got the TSA using a hooded photographer’s silhouette as the symbol of a terrorist in their latest poster.

Oh boy, this is going to be fun. Couldn’t they have picked somebody else to symbolize a terrorist?

I dunno, maybe a mommy with a baby carriage (you never know, there might just be a bomb in the baby carriage that’s wired to the radio. Thanks to Paul Simon, I’ve heard that scenario over and over again!)

Or maybe a sneaky ground crew member (They wear hoodies almost all the time…..What’s up with that, anyway?).

But noooooo, it had to be a guy standing out in the open taking pictures with a big obvious SLR camera.

Yup, that’s what just terrorists do….right after they get off from a long hard day at flight school, and are tired of studying the tons of maps and information they’re finding on the internets.

But hey, it’s not as if a simple silhouetted figure can come to represent an entire profession in the public imagination!

Just ask Jerry West.

Posted in Ironies, Legal Issues, Travel

Hands on impressions of the Nikon Coolpix P7000

© Bob Krist--The Coolpix P7000's 28mm (equivalent) lens is great for landscapes

I had the opportunity, a few months ago, to work with prototypes of the newly-announced Coolpix P7000 on an assignment in the Southwest US. It was for Nikon’s ad agency in Japan. The P7000 is a fully-featured compact that would be the perfect backup/stealth/walkaround camera for a travel photographer.

This is not a review. So, if you are looking for MTF charts, camera-to-camera comparisons, and all the stuff a full-blown review offers, stop reading now, please.

It is, as the headline clearly states, my impressions of the machine. On these gigs, I’m handed a camera or a lens and I have a limited time to make as interesting a set of pictures as I can, not do side-by-side comparisons. So, tech heads, please forgive me in advance:-).

© Bob Krist--A cowpoke named "Laredo" as captured by the Coolpix P7000

When I got the call, my client said “bring along your DSLR too, in case we see something special and you want to shoot it on your main camera.”  I thought it was a very generous offer, but based on my previous experience with a variety of compacts, I declined. I knew that, in the heat of a great photo opportunity, I’d probably forget to use the compact altogether (Oy! Can say “blown assignment?”).

So, in order to save me from myself, I went out without a “net,” and after a day or so of getting used to using the LCD screen (although there is an excellent, if not 100% accurate, optical viewfinder), I didn’t miss the D90 nearly as much as I thought I would.

In fact, I’m using one of the pictures from this assignment in the oversize calendar that I do as a promotional piece for clients every year. I’ve done the calendar for years and never used anything but DSLR pictures. But I got my early copies last week from the printer, and the P7000 frame is indistinguishable from the DSLR frames. Not bad!

To read more about the camera and see a few JPEGs, hit the jump.

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Posted in Destinations, Photo Gear, Photo Techniques, Technology, Travel

Off-Topic: William Shatner profile in NY Times Magazine

It’s a holiday, so I figure I can go a little off-topic to say how much I enjoyed the bemused and affectionate profile of William Shatner in Sunday’s NY Times Magazine.

As an apprentice at the Playhouse on the Mall, in Paramus, NJ, in the early 70’s, I worked as Shatner’s personal assistant for a three week run of his production of Tennessee William’s Period of Adjustment. The Playhouse, located in one of the first malls in New Jersey, was a summer stock house that hosted traveling package shows.

Actually, the theatrical term for what I was, was Shatner’s “dresser. ” That means I was in charge of his costumes and making sure he had everything he needed. But in reality, it’s more of a personal assistant gig (which I also did for Dana Andrews, Hugh O’Brian, Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara among other stars).

I had to drive into NYC every day to pick him up, help him with any costume issues, make sure he got the right food at intermission, and drive him back to his NYC hotel after the shows. We spent a lot of time together.

I was, and still am, a huge Star Trek fan, and the first time I met him, I could barely utter a word or stop staring. They told me the important thing was not to call him Captain or make any flip Star Trek references. They said he could be “difficult.”

But he was, flat out, a delightful guy.

It was the summer between my freshman and sophomore years at college, Shatner allowed me, between a matinee and an evening performance one Wednesday, to do a whole 2-hour interview with him about acting in and directing a play (I got an A for the paper in my Theater History course that fall!).  He was always generous, kind, and funny (dressers can be subject to all kinds of abuse from their stars).

When he felt like talking theater, I heard some cool stories and learned a lot of acting lore (oh man, I wanted to be just like him, or his buddy Christopher Plummer, when I grew up).

But the key was not to bother him if he was studying a script or reading.  We got along great, and he gave me a huge tip when the show closed.

From then on, I followed his career and enjoyed everything (well, maybe not TJ Hooker :-)) he ever did. He’s a great trouper, and he sure treated me, underling of underlings, with a lot of respect.

So  I can say, without reservation, rock on, Bill!

Posted in Uncategorized

Photog fragged by fair-use-f***ing footprint artist…

When Seattle-based photographer Mike Hipple took this stock picture, at left, of a 1979-vintage, public-arts-financed, sidewalk piece called “Dance Steps on Broadway” by artist Jack Mackie, he had no idea that he had just stepped in the worst s—-t the sidewalk can dish up.

Because Mackie is suing Hipple to the tune of $60,000 for copyright infringement.

Now, we all know the economy sucks. And I usually reserve my outrage for predatory corporate entities bent on the economic pillaging of the individual content producer.

But now, things are apparently so bad, that it’s content-producer eating content-producer…a veritable Lord of the Flies scenario for image-makers.


In the words of the ill-fated Simi Valley motorist  Rodney King, “can we all just get along?”

Apparently not.

Hipple’s stock agency, upon receiving notice from the “artist” and his legal team, took the picture down from their site. But that wasn’t good enough. Mackie, who had wisely registered his piece, is now seeking punitive damages to the tune of the aforementioned $60 grand.

For more information on how this case is playing out, and how you can help (this affects each and every one of us who shoots travel pictures in public places), hit the jump.

Continue reading »

Posted in Career issues, Ironies, Legal Issues, Travel