This week on Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – photojournalist, author and TV Producer Ben Bohane wins the inaugural Walkley/Sean Dorney grant for Pacific Journalism, Land of Drought at the National Gallery of Victoria and open call for KAUNAS PHOTO 2019 is now…open. Plus depressingly, another supposed documentary photographer is found to have staged scenes, and won awards for the work! And it seems apt to share this article “First-generation fact-checking” is no longer good enough. Here’s what comes next. (BTW there won’t be a post next week, but Photojournalism Now will be back on Friday 12 July!).
Ben Bohane – Walkley/Sean Dorney grant for Pacific Journalism
Congratulations to photojournalist, author and TV producer Ben Bohane who is the inaugural winner of the Walkley/Sean Dorney grant for Pacific Journalism awarded in Sydney this week.
The $10,000 journalism grant will allow Bohane to cover the Bougainville referendum, which is slated for October.
Sean Dorney was with the ABC for 40 years and based in Papua New Guinea and throughout the Pacific islands region and has given his name to this new award.
On winning Bohane said, “It’s really about paying tribute to Sean who has done more than anyone I think to bring news about the Pacific to Australia and the whole region, one of the great correspondents of our time, I’m really humbled and honoured to win this.”
Bohane continued, “This is potentially the newest country in our region since Timor and I was there for the bloody birth (of Timor). Let’s hope Bougainville has a smoother transition and let’s hope the Australian media picks up its interest in the region.”
The award money will allow Bohane to produce several stories. Bohane has covered the region for 30 years and is one of the few photojournalists that continues to pursue important political stories involving the Pacific Islands, stories that otherwise would remain unknown. He’s also the founder of wakaphotos the only photo agency based in the Pacific Islands. Find out more about his work here.
Film: Land of Drought
Filmmaker Julian Rosefeldt’s latest work, In the Land of Drought, 2015-2017,is currently on at the National Gallery of Victoria. It’s “an atmospheric video installation shot entirely on a drone that confronts humanity’s impact on the world through scenes of a speculative dystopian environment….this meditative video work depicts a post-Anthropocene future: one where catastrophic human influence has irreversibly damaged the Earth and wiped out human existence.”
“Filmed … in the desolate Ruhr area of Germany and abandoned film sets in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains, the work creates a hypothetical apocalyptic world that addresses current concerns around environmental degradation, urban decay and climate change.”
Everything we can do to reaffirm that climate change is real is worth doing. It may be the artists who shift the needle. If you’re in Melbourne check out this amazing film. It’s free.
On until 29 September National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Open Call: KAUNAS PHOTO
Established in 2004, KAUNAS PHOTO in Lithuania is the longest-running annual photographic festival in the Baltic States. The Open Call for the 16th edition is now on and this year’s theme is “Digital-Virtual-Real”. There’s also the new KAUNAS PHOTO STAR Award which is also open for entries (no theme). The Festival opens September 5. Entries close 12 July. Details here.
Way back in 1908 Lewis Hine said the camera doesn’t lie, but photographers do. This week photographer, Michele Crameri, proved Hine right, again. At a time when journalism, including visuals, is under attack with claims of fake news and the rise of deepfakes, it is worrying to learn of another supposed photojournalist staging work and passing it off as documentary.
Fstoppers reported, “It is alleged that Swiss/Italian photographer Michele Crameri staged several shots of men wielding guns and threatening to kill people, follow revelations from the Honduran fixer who helped him gain access to local gang members.” Sound familiar?
Days later the accusation, initially denied by Crameri and his agency, turned into confirmation.
Crameri’s apology is on his website, a statement that reads more like he’s feeling sorry for being caught out than for staging images and lying.
What compels someone to act in this way? Money, fame, industry accolades? According to his website he’d won numerous awards for the body of work in question.
As a journalist and a scholar, I interview visual journalists from all over the world, men and women who invest their time, money and heart, and often put their lives on the line, to tell important stories. People like Crameri undermine the work of these photographers and flame the fire of mistrust.
It incenses me, especially when I think about recent research that indicates we (as in humans) believe what we see even when it’s not real; the idea of seeing is believing persists despite our collective knowledge that photographs can be manipulated, a fact that dates back to the photograph’s nascent years. When visual stories are staged, manipulated and fabricated it impacts us all.