News Archive

SFSU Journalism Department Says Student Photojournalist Omar Vega's Case "Mishandled"

By Lemery Reyes & Richard McKeethen
Golden Gate [X]press, Special to News Photographer magazine

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - The chair of San Francisco State University's journalism department held a press conference on campus today defending the First Amendment rights of a photojournalism student arrested for photographing an alleged burglary.

“We believe that this case has been mishandled,” said department chairman John Burks. “We’re here today in support of photojournalism student Omar Vega.”

Omar Vega At Press ConferenceOn Wednesday, police arrested 18-year-old photojournalism student Omar Vega just moments after he left a class in Burk Hall. The San Francisco Police Department issued an arrest warrant for Vega because of an incident that occurred in October 2004 when Vega photographed a group of five people who police claim broke into a car parked on Lake Merced Blvd. and then stole CDs and cash. Vega was arraigned on misdemeanor charges of second-degree burglary and tampering with a vehicle for his alleged role in the break-in. Police also issued arrest warrants for the four other students involved in the October 24 incident. A fifth person seen in Vega's photographs has not been identified.

Burks said that Vega was acting as a journalist when he photographed Nicole Dion, John Macrery, Blake Street, Steven Stodola, and one other unidentified male. But the San Francisco district attorney's office charged Vega with burglary and tampering with a vehicle, both misdemeanors.

According to Vega, he was working on a photographic essay assignment for SFSU's campus newspaper, the Golden Gate [X]press, documenting freshman life in the dorms when the incident took place. During the Friday noontime press conference, Vega stated that he simply photographed the incident and that he was not a participant in the alleged burglary.

The Editorial Board of [X]press initially declined to publish Vega's pictures in the student-run newspaper when they failed to get a unanimous board vote in favor of publishing. The images of the car incident were then published on a Web site. A discussion thread on the Web site titled "Beheading The Messenger..." details Vega's account of what happened next. But some of the images from the car incident are now online on the [X]press Web site.

Vega also contends that Mary Park Hall staff members have consistently harassed him over his work as photojournalist, violating his First Amendment rights until they evicted him in January 2005. “They’re making an example out of me,” said Vega at the press conference as his attorney, Emilia Mayorga, sat beside him. Mayorga is an associate at the San Francisco firm of Kerr & Wagstaffe, who say on their Web site that they are intervening in Vega's case "on behalf of a college student in a First Amendment controversy involving freedom of the press." James M. Wagstaffe, a partner and co-founder of Kerr & Wagstaffe, is an adjunct professor in constitutional law and civil procedure at Hastings College of the Law and in media law at SFSU.

“It was so humiliating,” said Vega on Wednesday an hour after his release from jail. “It was right after class and my ex-roommate Michael and fellow classmates saw me get arrested and taken away in handcuffs.”

SFSU journalism department chair Burks said he supports Vega’s right to photograph events as they occur, including the incident that led to Vega’s arrest this week. Burks also questioned why the San Francisco district attorney’s office issued a warrant to arrest Vega over what Burks sees as nothing more than a student photographer reporting on life in the dorms.

Ken Kobre, photojournalism professor and faculty advisor to the student-run [X]press, also said that he believes that Vega was just doing his job.

“Omar Vega was doing exactly what a photojournalist should do,” said Kobre. “He was taking his camera and he was recording the world around him. The people that run the dorm have tried to block him from taking those pictures. They tried to do that almost from the time he arrived.”

Vega is a native of Stockton, CA, and is studying photojournalism on a scholarship he received to attend SFSU. His arrest Wednesday arose from the alleged auto burglary he photographed. University police reports indicate a group of four SFSU students and one unidentified male found a set of car keys on campus. The group searched and eventually located a 2002 Ford Mustang belonging to Karimah Arnold, another SFSU student. Documents from the district attorney’s office indicate that one SFSU student in the group, John Macrery, removed a CD from the vehicle.

As of Thursday afternoon, Vega and the other students had either been arrested or had turned themselves in to police. According to one of the students involved, Vega did not take anything from the vehicle.

“He (Vega) just took the pictures and posted them online,” said the student just after his release Thursday night at the Hall of Justice in San Francisco. “We never stole anything. He made it all up. We all have to be in court on Monday,” the student added.

Students Dion and Stodola still live in the dorms. Dion has declined requests for comment and Stodoloa said Vega never entered the car. Macrery and Street no longer reside on campus and the sixth participant in the incident still remains unidentified.

Phone calls to the San Francisco district attorney’s office were not returned by press time.

[X]press reporter Daniel Jimenez contributed to this story.


Reuters Wins Six Top World Press Photo Awards; American Photojournalists Do Well In The Competition

The World Press Photo of the Year 2004 has been awarded to Reuters photographer Arko Datta for his iconic picture of the human suffering caused by the Asian tsunami, World Press Photo announced in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, this morning.

The photograph, taken by Datta in India on December 28, 2004, shows a woman crouched on sandy ground, her mouth open in a wail and her palms turned to the sky, the arm of a tsunami victim visible in the corner of the image. The picture also won first prize in the spot news singles category. It has become one of the most widely published images of the year-end global disaster.

World Press jury member Kathy Ryan, picture editor of The New York Times Magazine, said in the judges’ comments that Datta’s photograph "is a graphic, historical, and starkly emotional picture." Jury chairman Diego Goldberg, a photographer from Argentina, said the photograph was "a true spot news picture with a strong photographer’s point of view."

Datta, an Indian national, has worked as a Reuters photographer since 2001. He has covered stories in conflict regions like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kashmir and was one of Reuters' team of Asian photographers on the ground covering the devastating effect of the tsunami.

Thomas Szlukovenyi, the global picture editor for Reuters based in London, said, "The first time you looked at Arko's picture you knew it's a winner. Beside Arko's personal achievement of winning the World Press Photo of the Year and the first place in the Spot News, it's especially gratifying to see the variety of the range of categories that Reuters has won, which really reflects the diversity and excellence of our team of photographers."

"This is a tremendous achievement and generated a great buzz among our photographers and editors. This brings the total of major awards we have won this year to twenty, a recognition of the outstanding work produced everyday by our pictures team. This is why Reuters is number one in news photography," Szlukovenyi said.

Gary Hershorn is the news editor for pictures, the Americas, for Reuters. "From the moment I saw Arko's picture I knew immediately it was something special. It conveyed all the emotion of the tragedy of the tsunami. Many people told me that they stared at that woman trying to understand the emotion she was feeling," Hershorn said today. "Arko is a gifted photographer who covered an emotionally draining story in his home country of India with the utmost of professionalism. His pictures amazed me."

Reuters photographers dominated the news categories with four other World Press Photo awards for their images. In the Spot News category, Reuters photographer Juan Medina won third place for his image of the rescue of illegal immigrants off the Canary Islands. An honorable mention in Spot News was awarded to photojournalist Daniel Aguilar of Mexico for a sinister image of a suspected Aristide assassin being held with a boot pressed against his face in a car in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Reuters photographer Paul Vreeker won second prize in the People in the News singles for his image of an Iranian with his mouth and eyes sewn together as he protested Dutch government plans to expel 26,000 failed asylum seekers. In the Nature Singles category, Reuters photographer Pierre Holtz (who is based in Senegal) was awarded second prize for his picture of a swarm of locusts in Dakar.

"This is a great recognition of our photographers’ talent and Reuters commitment to stay a leader in the picture business," Reuters editor-in-chief Geert Linnebank said today. "I'm specially proud of Datta and the whole team who covered the tsunami story."

This was the 48th annual World Press Photo contest. Datta will receive his award during ceremonies in April in Amsterdam. Photo of the Year honors carry a cash prize of 10,000 Euro and a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II camera.

Other winners in the competition include some American photojournalists. NPPA member Carol Guzy of The Washington Post won third place in People in the News Stories for her essay on pair of cojoined twins, Faith and Hope. David Swanson, of The Philadelphia Inquirer, who won second place in General News Singles for a photograph of a U.S. soldier after an ambush in Iraq.

John Moore, of the Associated Press, won third place in General News Singles for a picture of a detainee in solitary confinement at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. And in General News Stories, James Hill won first place for a series of photographs he shot for The New York Times in the days and weeks following the Beslan, Russsia, school massacre.

Kristen Ashburn of Contact Press Images won first place in People in the News for a photograph of a sniper victim in a morgue in Gaza, and Christoper Morris of VII won first place in People in the News Stories for coverage of the George W. Bush presidential re-election campaign.

In Sports Features Singles, NPPA member Renee Jones of the Minneapolis Star Tribune won third place for coverage of a community wrestling tourney. In Sports Action Stories, David Burnett of Contact Press Images won first place for his Olympic Games portfolio shot for Timemagazine, and Donald Miralle Jr. of Getty Images won second place for his Olympic Games portfolio. Al Bello of Getty Images won third place.

James Nachtwey of VII won first place in Contemporary Issues Singles for a picture shot forTime magazine of a refugee woman caring for her son in Darfur. David Guttenfelder of the Associated Press won first place in Daily Life Singles for a picture of Afghan women at a polling station, and Krisanne Johnson won second place for an image shot for U.S. News & World Report magazine of an Old German Baptist girl playing basketball in the snow outside a barn in Ohio.

NPPA member Jahi Chikwendiu of The Washington Post won first place in Nature Singles for a picture of a sandstorm moving across an open desert in Chad. In Portraits Stories, Adam Nadel of Polaris Images won first place for "Darfur Portraits" and Nina Berman of Redux Pictures won second for portraits of U.S. veterans of the Iraqi war shot for Mother Jones magazine.

The winning photographs and a complete list of awards is online at


Three Entries In WHNPA's "Eyes Of History 2005" Contest Lead To New Guidelines; Andrea Bruce Woodall Is POY Again

By Donald R. Winslow 
News Photographer magazine

In the aftermath of the judging of the White House News Photographers’ Association’s "Eyes of History 2005" contest this last weekend at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the organization’s president and contest chair have set forth new contest guidelines "in an attempt to clarify what ‘digital darkroom’ tools and PhotoShop methods are acceptable for photographers who enter the annual competition."

The WHNPA executive board and the contest committee have agreed that the new guidelines become a permanent part of the WHNPA’s annual contest’s rules.

The rapid move to publish and draw attention to the guidelines came after internal WHNPA discussions regarding three separate issues that arose from the judging, including two entries that were disqualified – one for digital alteration, and one for not meeting contest rules – and responding to a complaint lodged following the judging about "overuse" of PhotoShop techniques in an image in the winning portfolio of the WHNPA Photographer of the Year, Andrea Bruce Woodall of The Washington Post.

It’s the second time Woodall, 31, has won WHNPA’s top honor; her first POY title came in 2003. She’s been a staff photojournalist at the Postsince 2001. This year she also won first place in the Picture Story/News, Feature, and Portfolio categories. Portfolio second and third place honors also went to Washington Post photojournalists, Jahi Chikwendiu and Michael Robinson-Chavez. Liz O. Baylen of The Washington Times won the Political Photo of the Year category, Pablo Martinez Monsivais of The Associated Press won the Presidential category, and Douglas Graham of Roll Call won first place in the On Capitol Hill category.

Carol Guzy of The Washington Post won first in Picture Story/Feature, Charles Dharapak of The Associated Press won first in Portrait/Personality, and Jay L. Clendenin of Polaris Images won first in Pictorial. Michael Connor of The Washington Times won first place in the Campaign 2004 category, Robinson-Chavez won first place in International News, and Juana Arias of The Washington Post won first place in Domestic News.

Chuck Kennedy of Knight Ridder/Tribune won first place in the Inauguration 2005 category, Gary Hershorn of Reuters won first place in Sports Feature/Reaction, and David Burnett of Contact Press Images for ESPN won first place in Sports Action.

WHNPA contest chair Pete Souza of the Chicago Tribune said that WHNPA contest organizers had three separate incidents to contend with in this year’s competition. One issue was the digital alteration of an image, the second issue was eligibility of an entry, and the third issue revolved around an accusation of "overuse" of PhotoShop in one of the winning photographs.

"We had a picture where someone had cloned – apparently, accidentally – where you could see a second, cloned, shoulder of a Marine. It didn’t improve the photograph, but it did alter the content. We disqualified it," Souza told News Photographer magazine today. "I called the photographer and told them about it, and they were surprised. I really don’t think it was intentional."

As a result of this picture, one of the newly adopted WHNPA contest guidelines reads, "The content of a photograph must not be altered in PhotoShop or by any other means. No element should be digitally added to or subtracted from any photograph. Only retouching to eliminate dust and scratches is acceptable. Any photograph entered in violation of these standards will be, at a minimum, disqualified."

The second incident revolved around the timing of when the photographs in an entry were shot. "Because we’re a member-only contest, there’s a rule that you can only enter pictures after you become a member. An editor entered a picture story for a member that was shot six months before she became a WHNPA member," Souza said, "And it won first place in feature picture story. It was beautiful, it deserved first place, but by our rules it was not eligible. After the judging we learned that it was not an eligible entry. It was shot during the year -– but it was shot six months before she became a member. Then we checked with the editor and found out that she knew it was not an eligible entry when she entered it. In a member-only contest, the photographer needs to be responsible for their entry, not an editor."

Discussions about this entry led WHNPA to adopt another new guideline: "All entry forms must be signed by the photographer. We will no longer allow a second party to submit entries and sign entry forms on behalf of a photographer. If an editor prepares entries for a photographer, it is still the photographer’s responsibility to submit the entry and sign the form. If a photographer is out of the country or on assignment, an eMail ‘signature’ from the photographer to the contest chair will suffice."

Souza explained, "We now have a profession that allows editors to enter contests for the photographers, and maybe the editors are not members of WHNPA. To me it's the photographer who needs to be held accountable for the entry, not an editor. In terms of toning, and PhotoShop too, to me this clause is almost more important than the other issues. We're writing a letter to the editor of the publication that knowingly entered an ineligible entry, because it was done with intent."

The third problem contest organizers dealt with stemmed from a complaint about one of the photographs in Woodall’s Photographer of the Year-winning portfolio. The complaint came after the judging was already done. "Someone brought it to my attention that maybe the PhotoShop ‘presentation’ had gone a little too far," Souza said. "The photograph is not altered. It does not meet the definition of ‘altering’ content. It’s by no means clear-cut. Did the image go too far with PhotoShop? I think that’s for us to discuss – and that’s why we’re doing this. We’re trying to be the first major contest to establish guidelines for what’s acceptable."

Woodall’s image of a fisherman in a blue denim shirt holding up a fish he’d caught along the Potomac River, shot from behind him, with the Jefferson Memorial in the background under a cloudy sky, was not questioned during portfolio judging. The judges "had gone home" before it was brought up, Souza said. "The pictures in a portfolio end up being projected on the screen for about three seconds. It wasn’t up there long enough to warrant any discussion during the judging. Even talking to the judges after the fact, it’s still sort of a gray area as to whether the ‘PhotoShop presentation’ was too much or not," Souza said.

The judges this year were John Kaplan, a 1992 Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist who is now a teacher at the University of Florida; Colin Crawford, assistant managing editor for photography for the Los Angeles Times; and Annie O’Neill, a staff photojournalist for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. There were also "rotating" judges who served as a "fourth judge" in judging some categories, including Bill Luster, a senior photographer and associate photography editor for The Louisville Courier-Journal; Leah Bendavid-val, a senior book editor, writer, and curator of photography books for National Geographic; Frank Van Riper, photography columnist and critic for The Washington Post; and former Associated Press photographer and editor Charles Tasnadi.

Joe Elbert, assistant managing editor for photography for The Washington Post, told News Photographer magazine today, "As far as The Washington Post is concerned, the photographer has done nothing wrong in terms of enhancing or improving an image for the WHNPA contest. She did not go beyond the bounds."

Elbert said Woodall is on assignment in Mexico this week.

"It comes down to taste versus ethics," Elbert said. "Ethically, nothing in the content was altered in the picture. But in toning, it was poorly executed by a picture desk technician when the photograph was published in January 2004. The picture was first published on The Washington Post’s Web site. And the way our workflow is established, a night technician then pulls images from a digital holding basket and tones them for use in the newspaper. Instead of doing the toning on a copy of the original, the technician toned the original file."

"So now it’s archived that way. For the contest Andrea didn’t have the original, so she pulled it from the archive and submitted it to the contest. Someone who saw the original on the Web site and then saw the one entered in the contest complained," Elbert said. "They assumed that Andrea juiced up the image to enter it in the contest, and that’s just not so."

Discussion of Woodall’s image after the judging led WHNPA to adopt another new contest guideline: "Reasonable adjustments in PhotoShop are acceptable. These include cropping, dodging and burning, conversion into grayscale, and normal toning and color adjustments that restore the authentic nature of the photograph. Excessive changes in density, contrast, color and saturation levels that alter the original scene are not acceptable. Backgrounds should not be digitally blurred or eliminated by burning down or by aggressive toning. The contest chair will inform the contest judges of these guidelines."

Souza added, "The important thing for WHNPA is that we have discussed it, and we chose not to disqualify it (Woodall’s image) because she did not alter the picture’s content. It's a murky area, what can and cannot be done in PhotoShop. In the time that I’ve been the contest chairman this has happened before. Usually, it's a black and white issue – either it's altered or it's not. I think we've done our part, and we’ve made our decision on this picture."

Woodall’s Photographer of the Year portfolio, along with the other winning "Eyes of History 2005" images and a complete list of winners, are online on the WHNPA Web site at

In a written announcement of the new contest guidelines, signed by WHNPA president Susan Walsh of The Associated Press and contest chair Souza, it says, "Our intention is to be an industry leader in setting forth these guidelines for our contest. It has become too easy to digitally manipulate photographs. We are concerned that without parameters, people will push the envelope further and further."

Souza came up with some of the new guidelines more than a year ago when concerns arose about what’s acceptable and not acceptable use of PhotoShop. "It was the result of what happened because of Brian Walski’s cloned Iraq photograph, and with the contest photographs of Patrick Schneider in North Carolina," Souza said. "We were trying to stay ahead of the fray. We had some of these guidelines a year ago, but for this year’s contest I didn’t put them into the rules – and I should have."


"I'm Going Home To Photography." David Griffin Named Senior Editor Of Photography, Illustrations At National Geographic Magazine

By Donald R. Winslow 
News Photographer magazine

WASHINGTON, DC - NPPA member David Griffin, creative director for U.S. News & World Report, was today named as the new senior editor of photography and illustrations for National Geographic magazine. "What a great opportunity and challenge," Griffin said after U.S. News editor Brian Duffy made the announcement to the staff. "I'm hanging up my design tools and going home to photography," Griffin told News Photographer.

While Griffin looks forward to working for Geographic's new editor in chief, Chris Johns, and new associate editor Dennis Dimick, he still has high regard for his old boss. "Brian Duffy is one of the best editors I've ever worked for, no kidding," Griffin said. "He's been great, very supportive, challenging as a journalist, and I'm really going to miss working with him, both as an editor and as a person. This place is held together by his glue."

At Geographic, Griffin will report to Dimick, who was promoted to associate editor of Illustrations - the number two position in the masthead - by Johns in January as part of a broader reorganization of editors and their responsibilities.

"Photojournalists of David Griffin's quality come along perhaps once a generation," Dimick said today. "An articulate and highly accomplished advocate for the communicative power of photography, David brings back to National Geographic
a deep and diverse set of invaluable talents and skills."

"Along with editor Chris Johns, I am excited about working with David again as we build creative teams and manage the story-building process. Great work lies ahead as we all collaborate to produce compelling contextual journalism that illuminates the why and how of complex issues and emergent trends increasingly unfolding in the news of the day."

Dimick will continue to lead the magazine's environmental journalism agenda as he did previously as the senior editor for Environment. In addition to Griffin, those reporting to Dimick after the reorganization include Valerie May, senior editor of New Media; Kathy Moran, senior editor of Natural History; and the newly-hired senior editor of Technology, Ken Geiger, from The Dallas Morning News.

Asked what he expects from his new editor, Griffin said: "Chris (Johns) is clearly not afraid to make decisions and to make changes, and if that's any precursor to how he's going to be as an editor, that's a good thing. I'm thrilled that his changes at Geographic dovetail with my interests, and that's in doing journalism that's a little more aggressive and relevant."

Duffy praised Griffin in a memo to the U.S. News staff today. "During his five years at U.S. News, David has literally remade the magazine, overseeing four separate redesigns, the last of which he will be completing in the coming weeks, before he moves over to the Geographic. But far more than his great technical prowess, David's passion for aggressive news coverage, his insistence on excellence in every phase of the magazine's presentation and his innate sense of class and elegance have contributed enormously to the great success U.S. News now enjoys among both readers and advertisers," Duffy wrote. "For someone who contributes so much over such a broad range of activities there are damned few suitable words of acknowledgement. The only one that comes to me at this time is, 'Thanks.' Please join me in wishing David every success in his new position."

In 2003, Griffin redesigned News Photographer magazine as a gift to the NPPA, and since then he has continued to volunteer his time as a frequent design consultant to the publication.

Griffin has a degree in journalism from Ohio University's Visual Communication program (which predates the School of Visual Communication), and he had college photography internships at The Courier Journal and Louisville Times, The Topeka Capitol-Journal, andThe Herald in Everett, WA, as well as a layout internship at National Geographic. He was the Ohio Newspaper Photographer of the Year in 1978, the College Photographer of the Year in 1978, and a Gold Medallist in the Hearst Collegiate Photojournalism Awards in both 1977 and 1978.

In 1972 he was a part-time photographer for Today's Sunbeam in Salem, NJ. In the early 1980's he was a photographer, and then graphics editor, at the Columbia Daily Tribune in Missouri, before moving on to be the assistant director of photography at The Herald. From there he made the leap to art director at The Hartford Courant and then art director of Inquirer, the Sunday magazine of The Philadelphia Inquirer. His first job at National Geographic was as a layout editor; then he became the associate director of layout and design, and then the design director of the book division.

Along the way, David was the NPPA Newspaper Magazine Picture Editor of the Year in 1987 and 1988; on the NPPA Magazine Picture Editor of the Year team awards in 1996 and 1998; and recipient of an NPPA Newspaper Picture Editor of the Year Special Recognition award in 1983. Of the many books he designed for National Geographic, two exceptional ones are Portraits of America by William Albert Allard andCuba by David Alan Harvey.

Also, last week Bill Marr was named to the new position of associate editor for Layout and Design at National Geographic magazine. Associate editors Marr and Dimick both report to editor in chief Johns. Marr, who was the designer for The Best Of Photojournalism 2000 for the National Press Photographers Association, has been working as a publication designer in Edgewater, MD. He's the founder of Open Books, LLC, along with his wife and partner, photojournalist Sarah Leen. Previously he was a layout editor at National Geographic magazine; the art director for Inquirer, the Sunday magazine of The Philadelphia Inquirer; and a photographer and picture editor for the Columbia Daily Tribune in Columbia, MO. Marr was also a College Photographer of the Year (his honor came before Griffin's, in 1975).


"Cutting Edge VI" Workshop Was A Big Success In January

By Vicki Hildner

Not even the threat of an impending ice storm (breaking news!) kept nearly 100 people from attending the Cutting Edge VI "Will Fix it in Editing" workshop on January 29. It drew such a large crowd that the National Press Photographers Association sponsored event had to be moved from the planned WTVD-TV location to the larger Durham Marriott in Raleigh-Durham, NC. The workshop was also sponsored by Quantel and WTVD-TV ABC 11 Eyewitness News.

Some of the seminar attendees staggered in after a 15-hour drive. But everyone woke up quickly Saturday morning thanks to a fast-moving video opening created by Editors Shawn Montano and Mike Nunez of CBS 4 in Denver, CO (that, and a complimentary breakfast).

Brian Weister, the NPPA Television Editor of the Year, introduced the audience to his award-winning segment, “The Rides To Die For,” a story about a hearse car club in Colorado, as well as many more crowd-pleasing stories. Brian, an editor at KMGH-TV in Denver, talked about going beyond a job’s scope and working within one’s newsroom to better develop a creative environment.

Next up, Joe Torelli of Quantel. Joe kept the crowd intrigue by his knowledge and continued devotion to helping us all further our craft with the development of non-linear software. Quantel brought in all the latest toys for everyone to see!

Matt Rafferty of WJW Fox 8 in Cleveland shared some his fine work, including an unforgettable segment on a "gang wall" in Baltimore. Rafferty won The Cutting Edge Editor of the Year Award based on quarterly editing contest results. Rafferty talked about ways to make "creative marriages" within the newsroom in order to get your best work on the air.

After lunch, Vicki Hildner, special projects producer at KCNC-TV in Denver, talked about writing for the edit. In addition to presenting segments featuring a car accident victim, a young Marine injured in Iraq and a postman retiring after 30 years on the same route, Hildner shared her thoughts on logging video, the use of natural sound, and effective pacing.

Shawn Montano, the Cutting Edge director, closed the seminar with an interesting look into his mind and logic of editing. Montano created the “Human Edit” using “Cutting Edge” participants. In his presentation, he also showed segments on a house fire, one of his favorite stories, “The New York Street Boys,” about some kids in Boulder, CO, that bang on just about anything to make music, and a story about sex toys (yes... sex toys).

Breakout sessions closed the seminar as each staff member met with small groups to answer questions and critique work.

Special thanks for Quantel for continuing to sponsor the Cutting Edge. Very special thanks to WTVD ABC 11 Eyewitness News in Durham, NC, and chief photographer Lou Davis who did all the heavy lifting! Hope to see you next year at the Cutting Edge VII!!


Former Sacramento Bee photographer pursuing his art again after brutal beating

By Walt Wiley
Sacramento Bee Staff Writer

At the brain-injury rehab clinic where John Trotter spent months recuperating, there's a sign in the shower listing all the parts of the body that need to be cleaned.

Trotter laughs when he thinks about it.

"It's supposed to be a reminder, but when you don't have short-term memory, how do you remember where you are on the list?" he said with a chuckle. "That's the kind of dark humor brain injury breeds."

Trotter is the Bee photographer who was beaten and left for dead with severe brain injuries March 24, 1997, when he was attacked by a group as he was carrying out an assignment in a Sacramento residential neighborhood.

Two years later his main attacker, gang leader Terauchi Kenichi Golston, then 27, was sentenced to life in prison for the crime and four teenagers who joined in the attack were sentenced to youth facilities.

Witnesses said Golston, who outweighed Trotter by 80 pounds or so, knocked Trotter to the ground with his fist, then Golston and the teenagers set about stomping and kicking Trotter's head.

Trotter woke up with severe brain damage, unable to walk, his head covered in stitches. He soon was transferred to the rehab clinic in Placer County.

As he gradually made progress, a counselor urged him to photograph the people and activities in the clinic for the therapeutic value of using his cameras again.

In the middle of it all came the trial, creating a huge emotional load on Trotter. When it ended, he said, he was relieved finally to be able to stop concentrating on the attack and the needs of prosecutors and begin to put his life in order.

He had lost a lot. He was too fragile to return to work as a newspaper photographer. A former marathoner who had the year before ridden his bicycle from San Francisco to New York, Trotter now faced a long course of rehabilitation to regain his speech and his ability to walk. He is still not comfortable riding his bike.

"I found that I could remember my life before the attack, but it was like I was remembering someone else's life. I'd drive by a house where I used to live and it would look familiar, but I wouldn't know why right away," Trotter, now 44, said by telephone from his modest apartment in New York.

He still isn't all the way back, but he is getting close. He's back in photography, traveling and working.

But there are good signs. In 2000, Life magazine published some of Trotter's photos from the rehab clinic along with a story on his travail. That led to his being invited, expenses paid, to Perpignan, France, for an international photojournalism festival, where he and his work were featured - and where he has been invited back, expenses paid, each year since.

He also won a prestigious award at the Santa Fe (NM) Center of Photography. Kodak has given him 200 rolls of film. A London book publisher who was taken by Trotter's pictures from the rehab clinic has tracked him down and reached an agreement to do a book on the work, probably due out next year.

On the fourth anniversary of the incident, Trotter set out to do some serious work, going to Mexico where he photographed the sad state of the Colorado River's delta.

A six-page spread of those photos was published last year in U.S. News & World Report magazine. Since then, the nonprofit environmental organization Blue Earth Alliance has adopted the Colorado River project and will channel donations to Trotter to help him in his work.

"There hasn't been much money, so anything that might come in through them would be great," he said.

"Things are coming together. It's slow. But I'm going to make a living as a photographer again. I'm going to be self-sufficient."

The Bee's Walt Wiley can be reached at [email protected] This story republished with the permission of The Sacramento Bee.


Photojournalist Laura Sikes Wins $5K White House News Photographers' Association Grant

WASHINGTON, DC (February 3, 2005) - Freelance photojournalist Laura Sikes of Alexandria, VA, is the recipient of the White House News Photographers' Association $5,000 Project Grant for her photographic essay "Poor From The Start," coverage of poor migrant workers living in DeSoto County, FL, the WHNPA Education Committee announced.

The agricultural industry that the migrant workers depend on to earn a living in central Florida was hit hard by the hurricanes and tropical storms that battered the state in 2004. "Their way of life may have been changed forever," Sikes said. A native of Jacksonville, FL, she has visited the area which is home to many low-wage workers and farming families. "With a mix of residential and seasonal migrant workers who come to work during the winter harvests, many workers fear little or no work this season because of the extensive crop damage from Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne," Sikes said.

"Although Florida newspapers will undoubtedly do a great deal of coverage of the reconstruction, I image it will almost all be local and Laura's approach will offer a look at one small, primarily agricultural region that was slammed by Mother Nature," WHNPA Education Committee chairman Leighton Mark said. "The grant will not only assist Laura in her project but will provide a national stage showing what these people are going through to put their lives back together."

"Through our grant program, the WHNPA is able to recognize and help our members pursue their passion for photojournalism," said WHNPA President Susan Walsh. "Our members are the best in the business. We are proud that we can help Laura continue her work so that others will be able to see and understand the world around us."

During Sikes' 20-year career her photographs have appeared in national and international publications and books, including Time, Life, andU.S. News & World Report.

More information on the White House News Photographers' Association and their awards can be found online at


Maysville, KY, Chief Photographer Bob Warner Dies; Was Critically Injured In August In Wisconsin Crash

Ledger Independent chief photographer Bob Warner, 49, died yesterday from complications resulting from an August 2004 single vehicle auto accident in Eau Claire, WI, his newspaper in Maysville, KY, reported today.

Warner, an NPPA member since March 1988, was paralyzed from the shoulders down in the wreck on August 13 when he was traveling with his wife and their son to Seattle, WA, to visit his stepson, Michael Smith, who serves in the U.S. Navy. Warner had been hospitalized in Minnesota, and then was moved to the Drake Rehabilitation Center in Cincinnati, OH, in October, and he finally come back to his home in Maysville, KY, only last week.

Ledger Independent news editor Betty Coutant reported in Wednesday's paper that Warner was taken from his house to the Fleming County Hospital by ambulance on Monday, then transfered to a regional medical center, and finally to University Hospital in Cincinnati where he died shortly after midnight Tuesday. He apparently was suffering from a virus, the paper said.

At the time of the accident more than five months ago the Ledger Independent reported that Julia Warner, who was driving, apparently fell asleep at the wheel. She said she doesn't remember what happened, but surmises she nodded off. Warner was thrown from the front passenger seat to the back seat and his spine was fractured. Their son, Jim Warner, who is confined to a wheelchair, received minor injuries in the wreck. The newspaper reported that his wheelchair is normally locked into its spot in the Warner's handicap friendly van, but that Jim was asleep in the third row of seats when the accident happened.

Warner is survived by his wife, Julia; one son and two stepsons; and two granddaughters.



Photojournalist Susan Caldwell, Daughter, Killed In Crash; Mother, Daughter, Remembered As 'Bright Stars'

By J.K. Dineen 
San Francisco Examiner Staff Writer

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA - From little league championship games to political rallies to tragic house fires, Susan Caldwell captured the pulse of the Peninsula for 16 years as a staff photographer at the Independent and Examiner newspapers.

But in South San Francisco, where she lived with her 14-year-old daughter Nina Garrison, Caldwell was more than a photojournalist. She and her daughter were the very heart of the community.

"You saw them at just about every event, just in the middle of everything," said South San Francisco City Councilmember Karyl Matsumoto. "It was a great mother-daughter relationship."

Caldwell, 41, and Garrison died Sunday in South San Francisco when a van driven by Wen Mei, 37, smashed head-on into their sedan as they drove up a steep hill. The mother and daughter, both animal lovers, were en route to Cow Palace to see a dog show. Caldwell died instantly, while Garrison was pronounced dead at San Francisco General Hospital several hours later. Police say Mei is still in the intensive care unit of San Francisco General Hospital and could face vehicular manslaughter charges for his role in the fatal crash.

A photojournalism scholarship fund has been established in Caldwell's honor (see details below).

Bryan Kilfoil, Caldwell's domestic partner who lived with the mother and daughter, said Caldwell had lost her own mother at age 9 and "wanted to give Nina all that she could." Caldwell had been married briefly to Garrison's biological father.

"We wanted to make as happy a home here in South San Francisco as we could," said Kilfoil. "They were both really bright stars."

Caldwell and Garrison both loved the outdoors and were vegetarians. The day before they died, both had satisfying days, Kilfoil said. Caldwell went to the Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge to photograph wildlife. Garrison saw Aliens Of The Deep, an IMAX movie about the mysteries of the ocean.

"Afterwards she said she wanted to go into marine biology," said Kilfoil. "She was always so excited about something. There was nothing she couldn't have done."

Caldwell grew up in Cupertino and graduated from Cupertino High School and the San Francisco Art Institute. Garrison was on the soccer team and played saxophone in the school band.

Soccer coach Ken Anderson called Garrison "the perfect teammate," keeping the team loose with her sense of humor, and volunteering to play goalie when nobody else was "brave enough to take it on." On Monday afternoon, Nina's soccer teammates held a memorial on the soccer field.

"You could have the worst attitude and she would make you laugh," said teammate Holly Anderson.

Sophomore Lisa Mazzanti said, "You couldn't do anything to make her mad. She could make a friend in about five seconds."

Ashley Bonillas remembered Garrison's loud, distinctive laugh.

"It's hard for us -- we all feel so empty and scared and confused," said Bonillas.

After 16 years of covering the Peninsula, Caldwell was a walking repository of community contacts, according to Barbara Backer, a former editor.

"There cannot be that many people on the entire Peninsula who didn't know her," said Backer.

Caldwell understood "community life and community journalism," Backer said.

"If that had been another accident, she would have been at it taking pictures," said Backer.

(Editor's Note: This story was reprinted with permission of The San Francisco Examiner and author J.K. Dineen. A photojournalism scholarship fund has been established in Caldwell's honor. Checks made payable to the Susan Jean Caldwell Memorial Scholarship Fund can be sent c/o US Bank, Attn.: Teresa Adam, 50 N. Cabrillo Highway, Half Moon Bay, CA, 94019. The Nina Patricia Garrison Memorial Fund has been established to provide a memorial bench at the San Francisco Zoo's nature trail. Checks made payable to the "San Francisco Zoo" can be sent to 1 Zoo Road, San Francisco, CA, 94132. Write "ARC in memory of Nina Garrison" on the memo line of the check.)


UNDER IRON MOUNTAIN Corbis Stores "Very Important Photographs" At Zero Degrees Fahrenheit

Gary Haynes joined United Press International as a photographer in Detroit in 1958. By 1969 he was UPI’s assistant managing editor of photography in New York. From inside UPI, as a shooter and a boss, he saw nearly every UPI picture to move on the network for close to 11 years. Now, 35 years later, he’s deep in a rock cavern underneath a Pennsylvania mountain, looking for historic UPI negatives and original prints for a new picture book. Here’s what he and a few old cohorts discovered down at the bottom of a cold, deep mine, inside the "Corbis Cave."

By Gary Haynes
From Inside Iron Mountain, PA

Bill Gates caught flak from photographic historians and researchers in 1995 when he moved his vast Corbis photographic collection from New York City to a refrigerated cave 220 feet beneath the ground in a rural Pennsylvania mountain, near Butler, about an hour’s drive northeast of Pittsburgh. The move, which took place between summer 2001 and March 2002, required 19 refrigerated trucks.

The photographs might be preserved, critics said, but nobody would ever again have easy access to them. "Far from the reach of historians," huffed The New York Times. Most of those skeptics now realize that Gates — and Gates is Corbis, which he founded in 1989 — did the right thing. He has preserved an irreplaceable photographic history and has kept it accessible.

David Milne and I visited Corbis for the first time in June 2004 to locate photographs for a book about United Press International Newspictures. In addition to all the other things he owns, Gates owns all of UPI’s pictures, including all the photographs I made during my 11 years with UPI. The Corbis headquarters are in Seattle, with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, London, Paris, Düsseldorf, Vienna, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, and Tokyo.

Iron Mountain Storage Facility, where Corbis stores it all, is reached by a two-lane road that rambles through the bucolic Pennsylvania countryside. Suddenly there’s the mountain, a sign with a cryptic symbol, and an expansive driveway. Iron Mountain has been in the storage business since 1951. They own several mines around the country that are similar to the Corbis Cave. By 1995 Iron Mountain’s revenues exceeded $100 million and they went public in 1996. Since then they’ve acquired 100 companies in 124 markets in 17 countries.

When you arrive at Iron Mountain and turn into the driveway, enormous concrete barriers slow your approach. Polite but armed guards emerge from a trailer to ask where you’re going. If you are unable to furnish a name of someone inside who expects you, that’s as far as you’ll get. When you tell them your destination, they call to confirm that you’re expected. They then inspect your car. The glove compartment. Under the seats. The trunk. The spare tire compartment.

The first encounter with Iron Mountain makes you wonder if you’ve somehow strayed onto the set of a James Bond film.

I’ve covered the White House. It’s easier to get into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue than inside Iron Mountain. After they clear your car, you navigate more roadblocks and stop at a traffic arm. When the arm is raised, you proceed down a ramp into mouth of the mountain itself. Giant steel gates open, swallow your car, and close behind you. There are more guards, friendlier somehow than the ones at the front entrance, but just as well armed. Everyone must sign in and produce two valid pieces of photo identification.

They give you an ID badge to wear and a fire extinguisher to carry in your car. You are told to park a few yards away to wait for your escort to arrive in a car to lead you to their site, a half mile or more away along a winding road through tunnels burrowed into this old limestone mine. More confining than a traffic tunnel, the ceiling is about 25 feet high.

We followed our host in serpentine fashion past doors of some of the other tenants of Iron Mountain: the U.S. Government, the National Archives, Warner Brothers, Universal Studios, the Federal Office of Management and Budget, US Investigations Services. Many doors are unmarked. At almost every turn side tunnels lead to other recesses of the cave. There are lights at the end of the tunnels — but our host makes clear that we are to do no exploring this underground hideaway is the workplace for more than 1,700 people. It has its own five-engine fire department, power generators, and dehumidification, refrigeration, and air filtration systems. There’s a water purification system fed by an underground lake. High-tech sprinklers and plumbing and security system cables snake across and up the walls and ceilings. Security cameras are everywhere. The temperature throughout the old mine is kept at 55 degrees. The mine covers a thousand acres, and about 130 acres have been developed for storage by 2,300 clients.

Someone must escort you even when you’re on foot outside the Corbis facility, which is how you reach the bathroom a few yards away. Your escort takes you there and waits to escort you back. Even the bathrooms are high-tech — the sinks and toilets must drain UP.

The Corbis entrance appears to be just a pair of doors hung on the side of the tunnel, with a doormat and two potted plants, flanked by a modest lighted "Corbis" sign on one side and an LCD photo display on the other.

Through the doors, which are kept locked, is a 10,000 square foot space carved out of the mountain with irregular walls and ceiling formed by the cave itself. A fourth of the space, in the front, is used for offices and a work area with high-end digital equipment, light boxes, editing tables, and copiers.

The walls are rough-hewn but white, and the facility is well-lighted. It is unsettling to be so deep underground, in part because there are no windows, but it’s not somber.

Several commercial food freezers currently protect 28,000 "Very Important Photographs" at zero degrees Fahrenheit, including some famous gems like "Albert Einstein Sticking Out His Tongue" and "Marilyn Monroe Having Skirt Trouble on a Subway Grate."

Past the offices and workspace is the refrigerated, humidity-controlled Film Preservation Facility, about 600 feet long (the length of two football fields). You enter through a pressure chamber, through two doors to preserve humidity and temperature levels. Inside are orderly rows and hundreds of file cabinets and crates containing old negatives, glass plates, and prints.

So much work remains to be done inside the FPF by Corbis staff that a compromise temperature of 44 degrees protects the film without frostbiting the staff. There is no firm timetable, but sometime after 2005 the FPF will be lowered to 4 degrees below zero, and the "Very Important Photographs" will move back to the FPF.

UPI’s vast collection is in there, the weathered and well-worn New York bureau daily logbooks, and the thousands of original 4x5 envelopes used for negative files well after UPI executive editor Harold Blumenfeld switched UPI photographers to 35mm in the 1960s (the 35mm film was cut into three-frame strips so it could be filed in 4x5 envelopes).

UPI’s photographs had been produced for speed, not archiving. In the rush to transmit pictures to UPI clients, black and white film and prints were rarely fixed long enough to dissolve out all the residual silver. Acetate was the most common film base from the mid-1920s into the early 1980s and the base, in time, deteriorates. The deterioration occurs even more quickly when film is improperly fixed and when it isn’t kept cool and dry. It is also believed that degrading acetate films are contagious and can hasten the decay of other films stored in the same area.

Bureaus and photographers would ship both film and prints to New York, where there was no motive or staff to re-fix the film and prints. The 4x5 inch Kraft file envelopes were made of acidic paper and held together with animal glues — more enemies of film preservation. Prints were filed by subject in ordinary file cabinets and kept at room temperature with no humidity control.

In short, UPI was doing just about everything wrong in the way it stored and handled prints and negatives at its headquarters at 220 E. 42nd Street in New York. As early as the 1970s a strong hint of vinegar in the air warned of prints and film going bad.

IN 1972, UPI was sold to a couple of entrepreneurs whose management skills could never catch up with their cash needs. Things got so bad that they began selling irreplaceable parts of UPI, including its thriving foreign photography bureaus (sold to Reuters) and staff and client contracts, dispatched at fire-sale prices.

Perhaps the crown jewel was the picture library: 11.5 million images of events and personalities on glass plates, negatives, and prints dating back to the Civil War. The archive was priceless and not just because of its size, but because of the "you are there" quality of the collection: historic material from International Newsphotos (1912-1958), Acme Newspictures (1923-1960), Pacific and Atlantic Photos (1927-1930), and UPI’s entire trove since 1907. Photo sales were bringing in $1 million or more a year, every year, without any marketing effort and with only four salesmen. UPI’s business department suggested that an electronic retrieval system and a marketing plan could double or triple that income.

UPI’s chieftains didn’t have money to spend as they scrambled just to meet the payroll. "Who cares about a damn picture library?" one of the owners said and in 1984, for a $1.1 million "advance royalty," Bettmann Archive gained exclusive control of the collection.

That meant moving all of UPI’s pictures from its headquarters on 42nd Street across town to Bettmann on 21st Street. UPI lost ready access to its own files and had to pay Bettmann $35 every time it needed a copy of one of its own pictures.

The UPI collection, however, might not have survived at all had not Bettmann taken over. UPI didn’t have the resources to preserve it, and the company’s owners didn’t understand its value. Even with Bettmann in control, several hundred negatives on glass plates were hauled to the trash because the glass was dangerous to handle and a pain to store. Despite entreaties by the UPI photography editor assigned to Bettmann, no prints or new copy negatives were made.

Bettmann could also "smell the vinegar" in the collection, rotting and even badly decomposed acetate negatives. Bettmann installed a computerized index system, cleaned up and reorganized the collection, and began investigating ways to better preserve it.

In 1995 Bill Gates’ Corbis bought it all — UPI’s 11.5 million images and the 5 million pictures Bettmann had accumulated since 1933 — for an "undisclosed" price, reported by Newsweek to be $6 million. Corbis has since added several other large photographic collections and more than a dozen smaller ones.

Corbis kept its UPI acquisition in a New York office but knew that the clock was ticking on a collection that had been deteriorating for years from heat, humidity, and less-than-gentle care and handling.

Corbis's researchers (many of them longtime Bettmann employees) discovered that only about 100,000 of the UPI/Bettmann collection’s 11 million original images had ever been looked at by a client, and of that number, only about 75,000 had ever been licensed.

Hundreds of "B" negatives had already deteriorated past the point of being saved. As it sought a long-term solution to preserving its collection, Corbis did a heroic edit of the vast archive, trying to learn what had sold well and what was most likely to sell in the future.

Corbis worked with Henry Wilhelm, an expert on the preservation of traditional and digital color photographs and motion pictures and the long-term preservation of photographic materials in subzero cold storage. Wilhelm wrote a 21-page recommendation for rescue options, and when Corbis decided that subzero storage was the way to go, Wilhelm oversaw the vault’s construction at Iron Mountain.

Keeping the collection at 4 degrees below zero Fahrenheit would halt deterioration, Wilhelm determined, and leave the photographs intact and usable for at least another five thousand years. He compared the effect to that of a woolly mammoth whose perfectly preserved carcass was found in Siberian permafrost in 1999. The mammoth slipped into an ice crevice and froze before decay could begin, to be discovered 20,000 years later with tissues intact.

"It’s a real demonstration of how cold storage works,’ Wilhelm says. "The lessons for film materials are clear. The gelatin layer of film is made from connective tissue of cows, essentially the same as the woolly mammoth. There’s just no doubt that this will work for film."

ON THAT FIRST visit I had a secret test for Corbis. I wanted them to find an obscure photograph I’d taken in July 1966, when Frank Sinatra married Mia Farrow in Las Vegas. We were in Los Angeles and were given less than an hour’s notice to photograph the couple after the ceremony. Being Hollywood, I had some connections and called Clay Lacey, who sold Lear Jets. He got me to Las Vegas with minutes to spare. Sinatra hated the press, and we were allowed fewer than five minutes with the newlyweds as they just stood there, five yards away, taking no directions and answering no questions.

After photographing the couple, I shot a 300mm telephoto close-up of 98-pound Farrow’s tiny hand weighed down with Frank’s Lord-only-knows-how-many-carat diamond ring. Not a prize-winning photograph, but one that got UPI a lot of play and prompted AP to try to match the shot by cropping just the hand and ring out of their general view (enlarger to the ceiling and easel to the floor, resulting in a photograph with more grain than ring).

UPI’s old daily logs are the Rosetta stone to UPI’s files. The New York picture desk recorded every photograph transmitted on UPI’s wire by date, time, and number. Provided a date and sack number, a white-gloved researcher went into the FPF and, fewer than 10 minutes later, handed me the original file envelope.

In my cotton-gloved hands were the 35mm negatives that I’d touched last 38 years before! It was a wonderful, truly nifty moment.

FORMER UPI SAIGON picture bureau chief and photojournalist Bill Snead accompanied Dave and me on a second visit to Iron Mountain. Snead, who started at the Lawrence (KS) Journal-World in the photography department in 1954 while still in high school, rose up through newspapers in Topeka, KS, and Wilmington, DE, before running UPI’s photo operation in Vietnam and then later working at The Washington Post and National Geographic. He’s now back home in Kansas as the deputy editor of the Journal-World, in charge of the newsroom. He volunteered to scour the Vietnam files for us.

"From the late 1950s to 1975 literally hundreds of journalists from all over the world poked their heads in at one time or another to check out the war, do a little dance with death, and pop out again," Snead says. "You could push fate as far as you wanted. Shooters who got the best pictures played it (Vietnam) like a rubber band, and sometimes it snapped." Five of UPI’s photographers didn’t return from Vietnam. Snead was soon surrounded by UPI photography logs and immersed in the Vietnam film and print collection.

"For the 40-some years that I shot film I had a well-earned reputation for not filing my negatives," says Snead. "My locker at The Washington Post, crammed with stained coils of 35mm negatives hanging on hooks, was known as ‘Snead’s Hanging Gardens of Kodak.’ But, when I worked in Vietnam (from 1967 to 1969) running the UPI photo bureau, I was pretty dependable at sending packets of captioned negatives to New York via air express after we’d transmitted the best pictures from Saigon. So 35 years later, while assembling a retrospective photography show, I wanted to see what happened to nearly two years worth of pictures that a lot of young men risked their lives to make with their choice to be combat photographers."

Snead says that after meeting Haynes and Milne at the Corbis Cave, Ann Hartman, manager of Library and Records Management for Corbis, and her crew happily pulled files that matched his time spent working in Vietnam.

"I found a half dozen frames that I’d taken — but only one had my photo credit. Six pictures, out of hundreds. I looked in vain for Kent Potter’s incredible before-and-after sequence of a GI losing an arm to a rocket, for Kyochi Sawada’s photographs of the Tet Offensive from Hue’s Citadel, where a very-alive Marine buried under rubble popped out from under a 50-caliber machine gun that was blasting away. Wearing my little white gloves, sorting through the old negatives, I felt sad that there weren’t more old memories to see and relieved when I’d see a frame that had put UPI on lots of front pages for a day."

Snead concluded, "It’s ironic that these historic images are deep underground — just like the majority of the shooters who made them."

WHILE CRITICS HARPED about moving so much photographic history from New York to a cave in Pennsylvania, Corbis was still busy creating digital scans of many of the pictures, at a cost of from $50 to $70 for each high-resolution scan. The electronic archive of more than a quarter-million images, including the entire UPI collection, is available online to anyone at

The early fuss about hiding history came from critics who hadn’t actually seen what Corbis has done. A Washington Post reporter was an early visitor, and reported that the FPF was a "vault, not a grave."

The furor has died down but Corbis must have been tempted to remind naysayers that Corbis legally owned all those photographs and could do whatever it wished with them. Bill Gates — Corbis — has the financial resources and clearly has an understanding of the importance of the irreplaceable records he is preserving. Corbis and its larger rival, Getty Images, now appear to dominate the photography market.

SEVERAL BOOKS ABOUT the old UPI have chapters about the Newspictures operation, but none of UPI’s actual pictures (because the cost of buying the rights to use the photographs could have financially doomed the books). Gates agreed in January 2004 to give us unlimited access to, and use of, UPI’s pictures for a hardcover book about UPI for a special fee that makes taking the risk of doing such a book possible.

UPI’s photographers won eight Pulitzer Prizes along with every other award known to news, feature, and sports photography: World Press Photo awards, National Press Photographers Association Pictures of the Year awards, White House News Photographers Association awards, George Polk Memorial Awards, and regional and statewide photography competitions. We wanted the UPI Newspictures story told with pictures: for several decades UPI Newspictures gave world-class headaches to the folks over at the larger and richer Associated Press. The typical UPI photographer would travel the globe and shoot thousands of pictures. After a decade or more he would leave UPI and have less than two dozen prints (and no negatives) of his work to show for his career. Our new book will celebrate UPI Newspictures, showcase some great pictures, and include some of the photographers’ inside stories about their pictures and what it was like to work for UPI.

Bill Gates started Corbis with the idea of selling homeowners photographs for display on wall monitors throughout their houses. On the walls of his Seattle mansion, he can display digital photos or fine art as mood and occasion dictate. On his tenth wedding anniversary, the monitors reportedly displayed wedding pictures. But whatever photographs may interest Gates or a Corbis client, it’s comforting to know that, thanks to Gates, it will all still be here, perfectly preserved, 5,000 years from now.

We will return to the Corbis Cave to continue mining the UPI photo collection. We’ve been enthralled by hundreds of images, including unfamiliar photographs of familiar events that we didn’t know existed — because they aren’t the "iconic" photos of an event, or because they haven’t been published since the day after they were taken. We hope this fresh look will provide our book about UPI Newspictures with more depth than we first dreamed.

In addition to his career at UPI, Haynes has also worked at the Salinas (KS) Journal, was a national picture editor for The New York Times in 1969, and in 1975 was the assistant managing editor of photography for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He can be reached at [email protected]