Former AP editor and passionate wildlife campaigner, Keith Wilson, is the picture and text editor of a new book called Fox: Neighbour, Villain, Icon. He tells us more about the book, which you can support on Kickstarter.
A growing cub cautiously explores the field margins close to its earth in Derbyshire, By Andy Parkinson
Why the fox – and why now? Well, why not – and there is no time like the present! The fox is the last predatory mammal or carnivore the UK has. Many centuries ago there were wolves, lynx, bears, even lions if you go back further.
So the fox is the last connection we have with the wilderness. Bu for everyone who likes foxes you will find somebody who despises them – they are an intrinsic part of UK culture. Red foxes can be found all over Europe and Asia, but somehow in this country there is a really perverse love/hate relationship with this animal.
What are you trying to achieve with the book? We are not only documenting the fox’s lifecycle but also seeing how it’s coexisting in both an urban environment and a rural environment. We are even looking at some of the folklore surrounding the fox, which goes back many centuries.
A vet tends to an injured red fox that has been hit by a car and brought to the Fox Project, a dedicated hospital and rehabilitation centre for foxes in Kent. By Neil Aldridge
We have scientists contributing to the book, farmers, hunt saboteurs as well as those working in fox rehabilitation and rescue. And this is all depicted with some stunning wildlife photography.
A fox hunt led by the huntmaster and his hounds makes its way through a farm in West Sussex. By Matt Aldridge
While a lot of people supported the fox hunting ban, many now regard foxes as a pest, an annoying predator of their hens, or even as a health risk. Did you find this when working on the book? Totally – there are a lot of ambivalent attitudes here in the UK. Many people think there is now a problem with fox numbers since the 2004 hunting ban came into force. In fact, fox numbers are up, but only in the cities.
In rural areas, they have declined, even with the hunting ban. This is down to loss of habitat, and the encroachment of humans. People say ‘oh this wild species is invading our garden.’ No, you have expanded into their habitat!
Two young cubs play affectionately together in a quiet forest in Derbyshire. By Andy Parkinson.
Also the fox is an opportunistic omnivore, so it will always go for an easy supply of food. It has a varied diet, which is one of the reasons it survives so well.
As for the hunting ban, hunting IS still going on, it is just that the authorities are turning a blind eye to it.
A red fox looks out from the safety of her rehabilitation enclosure at a secure location in Kent, England. Her face bares the infected scars of a dog attack, By Neil Aldridge
So is this a book about foxes with supporting photography, or a photography book first and foremost? It’s a good mixture of photography and supporting text and yes, it is photography-led. So you’ve got the three photographers Andy Parkinson, Neil Aldridge and Matt Maran, who all approach the fox from different angles.
Neil is more of a photojournalist while Andy is focused on capturing wild foxes in their natural habitat, as undisturbed as possible.
An adult vixen on snow covered ground in Derbyshire. By Andy Parkinson
Matt, meanwhile, has been documenting foxes in London for years. So there is a great variety of fox imagery, including the fox’s interaction of people.
A fox in the city, by Matt Maran
How is the Kickstarter campaign going? It’s going ok but we are not there yet. The campaign ends on 30th October and we still need the support of AP readers to hit our £40k target. Paper prices and other book production costs have got a lot higher owing to economic factors. Chris Packham wrote the forward, and has backed us from the beginning.
After this, do you plan to do a book on other kinds of British wildlife? Who knows. This latest book has been two years in the making, and was planned before the pandemic. As the picture and text editor, I am very pleased with how it’s all looking. The book features some award-winning pictures, but also a lot of images which haven’t been published or posted online.
Fox: Neighbour, Villain, Icon is beautifully illustrated hardcover book with over 100 fox photographs by the three award-winning photographers You can support this very worthwhile project, and find out more about the book, here.
Further reading Wildlife photography tips and techniques
Creating a photo book can feel like tackling a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle in your head. To ease the strain, Tracy Calder asked three book-loving professionals to spill the beans about costs, collaboration and content when making your own photo book
Keith Wilson is an award-winning photo editor, journalist and author. He is the co-founder of Photographers Against Wildlife Crime™, an international group of leading photojournalists and writers who have combined their talents to produce two highly acclaimed photo books about the illegal wildlife trade. Keith is also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society Visit www.keithwilsonmedia.com.
‘When I started in my journalistic career anything that was self-published was derided and labelled as vanity publishing,’ recalls Keith Wilson as we catch-up over Zoom. This idea seems laughable now as I admire the award certificates for HIDDEN and Photographers Against Wildlife Crime on the wall behind his desk.
A printed sheet of 20 pages from the 1st edition of Photographers Against Wildlife Crime at EBS
‘Now, of course, a lot of the very best books are a result of self-publishing and crowdfunding,’ he confirms, as though reading my train of thought. In recent years the traditional book publishing model has changed dramatically, and photographers are often expected to help out with the cost of producing and/or marketing their book.
‘If they’re asking for your financial support in the first place then you might just as well do it yourself,’ laughs Keith. Self-publishing leads to a lot of hard questions and the first is whether or not your project is actually book-worthy. ‘The more original the idea is, the better,’ says Keith.
‘When I sit down with people the first thing that goes through my mind is, can I think of anything like this, on this particular subject, that’s been done before? If not, then it’s got a good chance of being noticed.’ The next step is to consider the size of your audience and how you will get your book into their hands.
Cover of George Logan’s book, which received £50,000+ in crowdfunding
‘It’s amazing how many photographers don’t give the same level of priority to marketing and distribution as they do to the design, layout and editing of their book,’ says Keith. ‘It’s in those areas, if you don’t do your homework, that you can really get your fingers burnt.’
Keith is accustomed to working with multiple contributors on a project (HIDDEN featured the work of around 40 photographers and Photographers Against Wildlife Crime featured more than 30), so I’m keen to know his thoughts on what makes a successful collaboration. ‘Give and take,’ he smiles. ‘You’ve got to trust in each other’s skills and experience, and you’ve got to respect each other.’
It also helps if the people that you work with truly believe in the project. ‘With both of these books, people got behind what we were trying to do,’ remembers Keith. ‘If you have the same purpose and want the same outcome then there really shouldn’t be a problem.’ It can be tempting to save money by taking on as many jobs as possible, but this can prove to be a false economy, as Keith reveals.
‘I encourage photographers to collaborate with people who are really good at what they do in terms of writing, designing and editing, because a single photographer does not have all of these attributes. You also need to consider other perspectives, or you run the risk of missing the obvious.’
Close-up of photo by Jo-Anne McArthur from Photographers Against Wildlife Crime
Keith also advises finding a printer with an established reputation in printing photography books – he often uses EBS (Editoriale Bortolazzi Stei) in Italy – but he warns against visiting in person if you lack the appropriate experience. ‘If you’re going to go to a printer take a person who is an expert in post-production and on-press production with you,’ he urges. ‘Watch them, let them make the critical decisions and then learn from them.’
When you’re making an image selection and deciding on the sequencing of your book it’s a good idea to enlist help. ‘Find someone knowledgeable who you can trust,’ says Keith. ‘For one, it stops you from including pictures just because you like them.’ It’s also important to include a variety of viewpoints and subject matter.
‘You don’t want people turning the page because they think they’ve already seen that picture,’ warns Keith. ‘You have to be ruthless in your editing and recognise where the gaps are.’ It can help to think of sequencing a bit like writing a novel – you need to move from one frame (or paragraph) to the next without losing the flow or making the joins visible.
An Ozalid proof, taken directly from the plates prior to the start of printing HIDDEN: Animals in the Anthropocene
Many of the books Keith works on include text, and he’s keen to outline the benefits of providing context to your pictures in this way. ‘For me a powerful picture is one that asks questions of the viewer,’ he says. ‘If you’re looking at a picture, and you’re absorbed in it, but there are lots of questions in your mind, then you need answers.
The picture can’t always provide the answers and that’s where journalism is important – it supports the power of the picture. As a result, the worth of the picture increases and it becomes more relevant and valuable to whoever is looking at it.’ All of this must be carefully balanced, and every detail attended to. One false move and the message may be diluted or even destroyed.
‘Books can become very collectable and valuable if you’ve done your job properly,’ says Keith, ‘but get one aspect wrong and they can depreciate faster than a Fiat Panda, leaving you with hundreds of unsold copies.’
Cover of the award-winning second edition of Photographers Against Wildlife Crime, printed in Chinese and English
Keith’s top tips
l Find a way of making your photo book extra collectable: consider a limited-edition run with a signed print, a few books with different covers or perhaps a boxed version.
l When choosing your pictures and designing your book don’t think of it as an exhibition – it’s a completely different form of presentation. For one thing, a picture on a wall does not have a gutter down the middle!
l The more books you print the cheaper each copy is, but be realistic and avoid over-ordering. You also need to be aware of the cost of distribution, post and packaging.
Lizzie is a professional photographer based in North Yorkshire who specialises in landscape, nature and travel photography. She runs small group photography workshops, offers one-to-one tuition and is a speaker and writer. Lizzie is currently working on a guidebook to the Yorkshire Dales and hosts workshops on making handmade photo books. Visit www.lizzieshepherd.com, Facebook: LizzieShepherd Photography, Instagram: @lshepherdphoto.
A handmade book is a tactile thing: the weight, smell, texture and sound of the paper combines to create a rich sensory experience. ‘I often think it would be fun if they were scratch and sniff,’ laughs Lizzie Shepherd as we settle down to chat. Lizzie became interested in handmade photo books after attending a workshop run by John Blakemore in 2015.
‘It was a great opportunity to meet and learn from one of our greatest photographers,’ she recalls. In the years that followed she found herself working away from home a lot, but her love for handmade books never waned and after attending a course on Japanese bookmaking (this time hosted by Joseph Wright) she was hooked.
‘I love the fact that you have complete control over how the book looks, because when you send something off to a printer there is always an element of the unknown,’ she suggests. ‘Also, unless you’ve opted for one of those really expensive paper stocks there isn’t the same kind of bespoke feel to it.’
Lizzie’s favourite style of handmade book is the concertina. As the name suggests, these books are created by cutting and folding a single piece of paper, which can be collapsed or extended. ‘They are very tactile things,’ she echoes. ‘The paper and everything I’m using doesn’t look dissimilar to a print I might sell.’
One of the first concertina books Lizzie made is entitled The Lochan and features a series of beautifully composed intimate landscapes. Aside from being a lovely object, it’s also a great example of effective sequencing. ‘In the middle there’s a bogbean image that I wanted to use, but it didn’t fit in with the rest,’ she explains.
‘Tonally it worked, but it’s very much a different subject.’ To resolve the problem Lizzie physically separated it from the other images, giving it its own space. ‘Sometimes you can find a way to make something work when it feels like it won’t,’ she grins. Lizzie faced a similar issue with a book she made about the Atlantic. ‘I wanted to include a foggy seascape, but initially it didn’t fit in with the pictures I’d selected,’ she recalls.
After weeks of tweaking the flow she replaced a few pictures and then struck on the idea of including text on the page facing the foggy seascape – it worked like a dream. ‘It’s trying to think about all of these things as you go along.’ When it comes to sequencing there are a number of approaches.
‘You can order the images according to subject, chronology or visual flow,’ says Lizzie. What strikes me most about her approach to bookmaking is that the planning begins way before the first piece of paper has been cut. Working in Lightroom Lizzie creates collections and ‘dumps’ images into them as and when themes emerge.
‘I will look at these collections, get rid of anything that doesn’t fit stylistically, and print out what remains,’ she explains. ‘I will then lay the prints on the floor and shuffle them around. I will live with them for a bit and see what happens.’ When it comes to visual content Lizzie is keen to stress that you can’t really go wrong, but if you decide to add text, it’s good to be cautious.
‘Once or twice I’ve not been happy with the font I’ve chosen and it has had quite a negative impact,’ she warns. Picking up a little book she turns to the title page and demonstrates how a font can overpower an image. ‘I knew it was too big, but I had already printed it and I didn’t want to do it again,’ she confesses.
By way of contrast, she holds up a book where the text and images complement each other perfectly. The balance is spot on, but it’s hard to pinpoint why. ‘A lot of photographers are graphic designers, so I watch what they do with their fonts,’ says Lizzie. ‘I won’t pretend to have their knowledge but by observing them I’ve developed a pretty good idea of what looks good.’
A double concertina book with soft fold-out cover and slip case
According to Lizzie, most mistakes happen during construction. ‘If you rush or your workspace is a mess it’s easy to make mistakes when you’re measuring, cutting or gluing,’ she warns. ‘I still do it myself!’ Looking at her stack of perfectly executed handmade books I’m prompted to ask if she finds the process meditative.
‘The bits where everything is going well can be,’ she confirms, ‘but gluing can be quite the opposite!’ She also admits that stitching sections with a needle and thread is not really her thing. ‘I don’t even like sewing buttons on,’ she laughs. ‘I only want to take the craft side of things so far. You can make all sorts of amazing books, but they are almost more about the book than what’s in them. I’m definitely from the “content is king” school and I’m looking for the best way to dress that up.’
Lizzie’s top tips
l Express yourself. You’ll often come across people who try to dissuade you from using certain fonts. Don’t be deterred – if you like it, give it a go!
l Try before you commit. If your book is particularly complex, make a prototype out of scrap paper before committing yourself to any cuts or folds with your chosen paper stock.
l Don’t give up. If a picture doesn’t fit in a sequence but you really want to include it, try separating it from the others with blank pages or sensitively placed text.
A highly experienced photographer, photo book maker and printer, Eddie is founder of London-based Envisage Books, his mentoring and publishing consultancy. Eddie works with both established and emerging photographers on a wide range of books from single-copy hand-made artist’s photo books to mainstream publications. He is a respected teacher and workshop leader. Visit www.envisagebooks.com.
Before embarking on a creative collaboration with a photographer, Eddie Ephraums believes it’s important to ascertain what success looks like for them. ‘The currency of success isn’t just financial,’ he suggests. ‘Photographers need to be clear about what they want and what they are measuring success by.’
With decades of experience in bookmaking, Eddie has a refined sense of what makes a good book and a firm grasp on the financial implications of taking on such a project. As a seasoned pro he sees the same issues crop up time and again. ‘A lot of people struggle to get a sense of the scale of the project,’ he reveals.
Cavalo by Lisa Mardell. Boxed version with prints, foil blocked box and thank you card
Is it a book they should be printing 50 copies of and selling at a private launch or a local café (which can be great) or are they feeling more ambitious and trying to raise money for conservation, say, in which case they might commit to print 5,000 copies. It’s about judging the scale of the project and being clear about what you intend to do with it.’
Part of Eddie’s role is to explore, and explain, all of the known factors that might affect the success of a book before any work gets started. There are so many variables regarding production values, budget etc that sometimes the easiest place to start is at the end. ‘If a photographer is planning to sell a book, I start by asking them how much they hope to sell it for and work back from there,’ he reveals.
‘I’ll ask them how much money they want in their bank account at the end (or how big a deficit!)’ Eddie jokes, but there’s an unpalatable truth behind his comment – few people realise how expensive it can be to produce a high-quality photobook. ‘Most people have no idea what it might entail,’ says Eddie.
‘In their mind they upload a book to Blurb (for example), receive a hardback copy and pay £40 and they think that’s expensive. I, on the other hand, think that’s cheap!’ Another issue is that people often tend to underestimate the level of work and commitment involved. ‘The creative part can be a brief flurry at the beginning and then you’ve got to be in it for the long haul,’ advises Eddie.
Occasionally, photographers will come to Eddie with preconceived ideas, but some projects just aren’t suited to a book format, as he explains. ‘Sometimes I might be thinking well this project would make a great exhibition because you could see all the pictures at a glance in a room and you wouldn’t need to start in one particular place; but with a book there is a beginning, a middle and an end and you don’t see all of the pictures at the same time – the impact is quite different.’
Some books, such as Remembering Elephants, have a clear narrative – in this case the lifecycle of an animal – but most books are less linear. ‘You also have to bear in mind that many people (myself included) pick up a book and open it at the back,’ laughs Eddie. ‘What’s that all about?’
With so much knowledge about the way people view images Eddie can sometimes decide on the sequencing of a set of pictures in ten minutes but he admits it usually takes him much longer and depends on the scale of the project. ‘With a self-published book containing, say, 20 images I place the files in a folder on my Mac and view them as large icons,’ he explains.
‘I move the files around – deciding what would make a good double-page spread etc – and order them within that folder. It’s like shuffling cards around!’ With the sequencing decided (and the size, format and number of pages already known) Eddie creates an Affinity Publisher document and drags and drops the images onto it.
‘I’ll then fine-tune the design depending on how much text there is, whether or not there are any captions, page numbers etc,’ he reveals. When he’s positioning the images Eddie has to consider a number of things: how will the book be handled, for example, is it intended to be held or opened and laid flat? Where will the gutter fall? How is the book going to be stitched or glued?
‘You’re thinking about all of these different things and playing with a sort of mental three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle,’ he smiles. One of the biggest decisions Eddie and a client will make concerns paper stock. ‘The paper is hugely important,’ echoes Eddie, ‘the feel of it, the sound of it, the smell of it, the way it holds, reflects and absorbs ink.’
Naturally, the relationship between paper and ink changes depending on whether you use an offset-litho printer or a digital-ink printer. ‘When you print on uncoated paper using an ink-based digital press the ink will sit more on the paper, compared to traditional litho where the ink will soak in and you will get a totally different look and feel,’ explains Eddie.
Technical decisions aside, I’m curious to know whether Eddie thinks we should ask ourselves if the book we’re creating adds value to the world before ordering hundreds of copies. ‘Yes, you have to be brutal,’ he agrees. ‘You have to look at your baby – this beautiful thing you’ve created – and say in what way is this going to add value, and if you can’t answer that then forget it.’
Eddie’s top tips
l Print it out. Never judge typography using a computer screen – it’s impossible. If your words are going to be appearing in a printed book, then you need to print everything out and create a dummy copy.
l Be there in person. Where possible, selling books face-to-face (perhaps through a gallery, café or exhibition) can be really effective. Using this method, you don’t have to cover shipping costs and having seen the work and talked to you, people develop a relationship with the book and are much more likely to buy it.
l Be realistic. Print enough photo books to cover your costs but don’t over-order. If you print 500 copies of a book on a really obscure topic and sell 450 that’s amazing, but human psychology dictates that you will look at that pile of 50 remaining books and feel like a failure.
Subscribe to AP at The Photography Show and get a free signed book by top landscape photographer, Jeremy Walker. Jeremy reveals more about the book and his forthcoming photo tours to Scotland and Iceland, in partnership with Zoom Tours and AP…
Jeremy Walker is one of the UK’s most celebrated and accomplished landscape photographers. His debut book, Landscape, is the culmination of a journey that has taken him several years to complete. He has shot some of Great Britain’s best loved photographic locations, but the book also took him to many lesser known hidden gems. If you subscribe to AP at The Photography Show, you will get a copy of the book, worth £45, which is also signed by Jeremy. We caught up to find out more about ‘Landscape.’
How did the idea for Landscape come out? To be honest, producing a book was a bucket-list project. But I wanted it to be a book that I was in control of. I didn’t want a publisher telling me that I could or couldn’t do certain things, which is why I self-published it.
The subject matter is just something I am passionate about. It’s a mixture of landscape, but it’s also landscape with history and architecture. So the images tell a story, and there is mood and drama. It’s not a location book, it’s a coffee table book.
Ruined church and graveyard in the fog and mist.
Has an appreciation of history always informed your photography? When I was at school I wasn’t very academic, but I enjoyed history very much. Being able to combine a passion for the outdoors and the natural world with this strong interest in history was a perfect fit for me.
Corfe Castle in the mist
Did it help keep you sane during the lockdowns? I had virtually finished shooting all the images for the book when the pandemic hit. It had taken a long time, as none of the images are from my archive – I shot everything fresh, all 109 images. During the pandemic I could sit down and write about the images, doing the research and the history. So in that sense, the lockdown came along at a good time. Shooting the images is the fun bit, but sitting down and writing about them is the hard bit!
Tintern Abbey in the mist at sunrise.
How was producing the book changed your photography? The book has taken several years, so my approach has changed, and some of my kit has changed – if I am walking over the moors to an old castle or ruin, I tend to just take one body and just a couple of primes now. The way I look at landscapes has also changed. Rather than just trying to do pretty pictures I am now trying to tell a story, where there is a bit of history in the landscape – whether it be a ruin, or a hill fort, an ancient forest etc. So I don’t just want to do pretty sunsets and sunrises anymore, I want my images to have a bit of a backstory.
Jeremy is also working with Zoom Tours and AP to run three photo tours – to the Isle of Skye, Glencoe and Iceland.
So what is going to be different about your Zoom Tours to Skye and Glencoe?
Skye is incredibly popular. What will make this tour different is the after-the-shot work, for example, the image reviews. These tours are not just thrown together, they are professionally planned. You have the expertise of Zoom Tours, the photographic reach of AP, and I have been doing photo tours for 15 years and I love it – so it’s a great combination.
That said, we will shoot the classics; often when people come on the workshops they want to be taken to certain ‘honeypot’ locations, but on the way we can find ruined cottages, for example, and lots of other interesting things to shoot.
Glencoe is another immensely popular area, will be doing Rannoch Moor, Buachaille Etive Mor, etc, plus a few diversions to lesser known spots, such as waterfalls people don’t normally get to. We will also go to lesser-known locations if bad weather hits the more exposed places.
What about the Iceland Photo Adventure? Again Iceland has become immensely popular, but I know the country well and will be taking participants to some great places. We will visit the classic locations but it’s easy in Iceland to overdo it, so we will have the flexibility to stop on the way to do more personal and detailed imagery.
Albert Watson’s iconic fashion, celebrity and fine art images have graced the covers of magazines such as Vogue, Rolling Stone and Time, among many others. Major companies have enlisted his photographic talents for their ad campaigns, he has directed commercials, creating images for movie posters—the list is never ending.
But one has to wonder how Watson, whose first jobs including testing chocolates at a chocolate factory in Edinburgh, Scotland evolved into an artist creating some of the world’s best known photographs. That’s just one of the many topics that the newly published book, “Albert Watson: Creating Photographs,” part of Laurence King Publishing’s Masters of Photography series, explores.
And while we think you’ll enjoy reading Watson’s account of his journey through art school and moving to the United States more than our synopsis, one of the stories that stood out revolves around his photograph of Alfred Hitchcock. When Harper’s Bazaar contacted Watson and asked whether he had photographed any famous people before, Watson responded in a fake-it-till-you-make-it, “Yeah, one or two” even though he hadn’t.
Still, he got the assignment and while he was, of course, willing to photograph Hitchcock holding a platter with a holiday cooked goose (to accompany his goose recipe for the holiday issue of the magazine), Watson had a different idea. Why not have Hitchcock holding a plucked goose around the neck, as if he were choking the bird—it seemed “a bit more Hitchcock,” Watson explained.
The Editor-in-Chief loved the idea, the goose’s neck was adorned with Christmas decorations and the final image “really changed” Watson’s career. These little vignettes, combined with practical and technical advice and lots of photos pack this slender volume (128 pages).
Here’s one of my favorite Watson quotes from “Albert Watson: Creating Photographs”:
“To photographers who don’t enjoy the technical side, I often say that they have an advantage, because all of your concentration goes into the imagery.” – Albert Watson
While some of his advice is common sense for pro photographers (always come prepared), Watson provides tips and insights about his approach to photographing people, fashion, studio shots and landscapes that you won’t find elsewhere. At $19.99, you can’t afford not to buy this book.
You can read about tips and techniques photographers can take from “Albert Watson: Creating Photographs,” in this story on our sister site, Digital Photo.
Sebastião Salgado’s new book, Amazônia, takes us on an extraordinary journey through his time in the depths of the South American rainforest. Damien Demolder finds out more..
There have been a few instances during my short lifetime that have had a dramatic impact on my photography. The principal one, of course, was getting my first camera but another key moment came while lying on the green carpet of my parents’ lounge when I was a teenager. It was here, propped up with a cushion under my elbows, that I consumed the Sunday papers, and here that I first saw pictures by Sebastião Salgado.
The Sunday Times colour supplement had a significant section devoted to an astonishing project that depicted what looked like scenes from Dante’s Inferno, as muddied bodies carrying great sacks of dirt climbed rickety long ladders made of branches as they made their way up the wet muddy walls of a mine.
The hole they emerged from must have reached to the centre of the Earth, and these bustling sinners took their eternal punishment packed together in astonishing numbers as they lumbered under the weight of past deeds. These were, of course, the legendary pictures Salgado took in 1986 of the gold miners hunting for their fortune in the gigantic pit at Serra Pelada in the north Brazilian state of Pará.
Hunting encampment, Valley of Javari Indigenous Territory, state of Amazonas, 2017
At the time I was wavering between becoming a musician and a photographer, and Salgado helped me to make up my mind – luckily, as I was much worse than I thought at the trumpet.
Salgado’s latest book, Amazônia, shows us the world in the same deep black & white tones that he showed us the gold miners – a style which is almost a trademark of his work. This time though we look not at Hell on Earth but what appears to be a piece of Heaven.
In this beautifully printed, weighty volume Salgado takes us on a 20-year tour of the Amazon region to meet not only its rivers and trees, but the tribes that live in its depths – some of which have had very limited exposure to the world beyond the forest. It’s an exploration, an adventure and an incredible education.
Women dance at the Yanomami Indigenous Territory, state of Amazonas, 2019
Life from all angles
Salgado shows us this world in a number of different ways. He avoids the standard ‘native with distant stare’ in favour of informative documentary images of tribal people going about their business, slightly more posed pictures of them in their environment as well as formal portraits against a series of canvas backgrounds; that his team incredibly hauled along with them on their trips. We get to see village life, fishing and hunting, people at leisure as well as engaged in the significant events of their culture.
As Salgado travelled to many of these tribes by air we also get aerial views of the stunning Amazonian landscapes; forest broken by ‘serpentine’ rivers, mountains bursting out of the canopy and clouds – lots of ‘rivers of the sky’ and stormy looking formations. It is a quite astonishing collection of images that shows us what we might once have thought of as a world left behind, but which seems now a world very much more balanced and at peace with itself than our own.
The Maiá River in Pico de Neblina National Park. Yanomami Indigenous Territory, state of Amazonas, 2018
My first thought on receiving the book was that perhaps the best way to ensure the survival of the ten indigenous tribes featured would be not to feature them in a book that a whole world of photographers would then want to emulate. Salgado goes to some length though to explain how the tribes are protected from the outside world as well as the threats that still need to be dealt with. Highlighting them in such a high-profile way, it is hoped, will ensure that those who have the power to protect this land and these people will do so.
Salgado tells us too at the beginning of his substantial text that ‘one aim of this photographic project is to record what survives before any more of it disappears’, and he ends with ‘My wish, with all my heart, with all my energy, with all the passion I possess, is that in 50 years’ time this book will not resemble a record of a lost world.’
Photographers strive for originality, and for many this means showing their audience things that haven’t been seen before. There aren’t many things we can photograph these days that haven’t been photographed over and over, so a good deal of the attraction of this book is what it shows us for the first time. There is an undeniable wow-factor in that. Of course we have seen tribal people before, and some may have photographed some themselves at tourist hot-spots, but the vast majority of the people and the villages shown here have rarely been seen before, and their way of life isn’t for show.
Men of Zo’é ethnicity, Zo’é Indigenous Territory, state of Para, 2009
The photographer has clearly spent the time to get to know the people in the pictures too, and to understand what they are doing. The captions provided name the sitters, their positions in the village and add some other interesting information to help the reader appreciate what is going on. I suspect it is for artistic reasons that the captions are grouped together at the end of the book so the pictures can stand on their own, but it’s also a bit inconvenient as the book is large and flipping backwards and forwards is awkward.
Had Salgado provided less-interesting captions then this might not have been an issue, but he goes to a good deal of effort to make the captions really worth reading. Each of the tribes is also introduced with historical, geographic and cultural information, and we get to read about their customs, what they eat, their beliefs and how they spend their time. And it’s fascinating. Not wanting to drop in any spoilers, but the women of the Zo’é tribe have multiple husbands, ‘one a hunter, another a fisherman, a third a farmer, and a fourth who helps at home’ – and other interesting facts and stories.
Salgado worked very closely with FUNAI – the National Indian Foundation – for this project, with the foundation helping to provide guides as well as guidance and guidelines for his trips. Together they determined which tribes to visit, gained permissions from the tribes themselves and found out what the tribes needed that Salgado could take as a gift.
An igapó, a type of forest frequently flooded by river water. Anavilhanas archipelago, Anavilhanas National Park, state of Amazonas, 2019
Salgado’s team had to remain self-sufficient for food as they weren’t allowed to accept meals from the tribes, and had to spend time in quarantine and having medical tests to ensure they wouldn’t carry diseases to people who have no defence against them. Salgado says in the book that, ‘History has shown that isolated indigenous peoples face no greater danger than contagious bacteria or viruses introduced by outsiders.’ An enormous amount of preparation was needed as the teams would often be on the go for weeks at a time.
As you would expect, Salgado’s pictures are more than well worth looking at, and his experience as a story-teller comes through very clearly. The pictures are visually stimulating in their own right, and need no dramatic post-processing to make them so. The photographic process never distracts us from the subject matter or the situations shown, and no techniques to create ‘impact’ are used. The pictures are ‘straight’ and just plain very-well-taken. Salgado gives us depth, composition that shows us the subject and its environment, and steers clear of extreme photographic exhibitionism.
Foliage glows in many of the environmental pictures creating a magical look, and skin tones are deep and rich, while the portraits against the canvas backgrounds allow us to see the people away from their environments, and in some cases help us understand family and social groups. Had these out-of-context portraits been shown on their own they might have looked like a dressing-up session, but alongside the other work in the book they add a really interesting dimension to the whole picture.
A young Marubo girl, Ino Tamashavo, holding a parakeet. Valley of Javari Marubo Indigenous Territory, state of Amazonas, 1998
Salgado is known of course for his definite black & white style, which perfectly suits so many of his projects, but I couldn’t help wishing that this book had been in colour. The photographer says that colour can be a distraction and can disguise the message of the work, which in general terms I agree with. It can however also make us feel closer to the subject.
Colour would make me feel more of a connection with the people in the book, and make me feel less like I am looking at a historical and scientific record of some abstract situation that could have happened at any moment in history. I want to understand that these people are living now, as I write this, in the deepest forests of the Amazon. Somehow the monochrome takes some of that element away.
I want to know what shade of green the forest is, but Salgado shows us pages of aerial views of the lush landscape with this information removed, redacted, censored. The skies and cloud formations are dramatic of course, with what looks like a red filter or red channel conversion, but in black & white they miss out on the wonder that Yann Arthus-Bertrand so famously captured in his Earth From Above series. Is it to be more ‘serious’? I don’t know, but it’s a bit of a shame all the same.
Amazônia by Sebastião Salgado is available to buy now, published by Taschen. RRP £100. ISBN: 9783836585101
In colour or black & white the Amazon is a fascinating place, and Sebastião Salgado has created a truly sensational body of work that he shows us in Amazônia. The pictures are stunning, the printing first rate and the generous accompanying text is full of interesting, and carefully recorded, information. That Salgado takes as much care to record the details of each tribe and person he photographs as he does over the way he photographs them, really adds an extra depth to this book that we don’t always get.
His own emotional investment in the place and the subject comes streaming through, which is one of the things that make this a very special book. It is a big, thick tome, and while £100 is a lot to pay for a photobook you do actually get a lot for your money.
Get the most out of your travel photography
Book review: Exodus by Sebastião Salgado
Photographer Sebastião Salgado to win prestigious Royal Geographical Society award
According to a new report, hackers have exploited a 0-day bug, not the one discovered in 2018, to mass-wipe WD My Book Live Devices. It appears as though Western Digital intentionally removed lines of code that would have prevented it.
Just last week, PetaPixel reported that an exploit was discovered through the WD community pages that caused some WD My Book Live users to have all of their data deleted. A further investigation alleges that the data wipes were not caused by just a single vulnerability, but a second critical security bug that let hackers remotely perform factory resets without the use of a password.
According to the investigation, a developer from the Western Digital team actually coded a requirement for a password before a factory reset was performed, but that requirement was later removed.
“The undocumented vulnerability resided in a file aptly named system_factory_restore. It contains a PHP script that performs resets, allowing users to restore all default configurations and wipe all data stored on the devices,” arsTechnicareports.
As a point of security in modern tech devices, if a factory reset is desired, the user would need to use a password to properly authenticate the command to delete all stored data. Adding this critical step is supposed to protect users and prevent any malicious entities from accessing or destroying data, and ensures that only the owner could take those actions. It is generally successful in doing so as long as the user’s password remains protected.
According to this new report, the WD Developer in question wrote five lines of code to password-protect the reset command and then at some point before the commercial launch of the products, canceled it (or in coding terms, commented it out).
This discovery comes just days after users from all over the world first reported their devices had been affected to which WD posted an advisory on its website and stated the attack used a vulnerability found in late 2018. Since the exploit was discovered years after the company officially stopped supporting the devices, a fix was never issued. It turns out that even if WD had patched that exploit, this other bug would have still allowed hackers to remote delete users’ data.
In a statement to arsTechnica, Derek Abdine, CTO of security firm Censys, believes the second exploit which caused the mass deletion was used by a different hacker to “wrest control of the already compromised devices” and prevent Western Digital from being able to release an update to fix the corrupted configuration files. Abdine also states that users who were affected by the initial hack seem to also have been infected with malware that makes the devices a part of a botnet called Linux.Ngioweb.
Western Digital did not immediately respond to the request for comment.
Due to the discovery of the second vulnerability, My Book Live devices are even more insecure and unsafe to use than initially believed. As PetaPixel urged in its original coverage, it is prudent for all who currently own a WD My Book Live to disconnect them immediately from the internet.
Western Digital, the company known for making many types of popular hard drives including the My Book line external devices, is advising users to disconnect any My Book Live storage devices from the internet as soon as possible and until further notice to prevent files from being deleted.
The My Book line of Hard Drives is a popular series of storage devices since they are very affordable options for users. Typically the external storage devices connect to computers via USB cables, but in the case of the My Book Live series, it uses an ethernet cable to connect to a local network where users can then remotely access their files and make configuration changes using the Western Digital cloud infrastructure. When it was first announced, Western Digital billed it as a “personal cloud.”
ARS Technica is reporting the problem was first brought to light from a thread on the WD support page where users have started to discover that the data stored on these drives is being inexplicably erased. Files are being mysteriously deleted and the drive itself is being “factory reset” with no action taken by the users themselves.
Western Digital is still investigating the issue, but the data loss appears to be the result of some “malicious software” and has issued a warning to users urging them disconnect the drives from the internet as soon as possible until the company can figure out how to protect the drives and prevent any further deletions.
I have a WD mybook live connected to my home LAN and worked fine for years. I have just found that somehow all the data on it is gone today, while the directories seems there but empty. Previously the 2T volume was almost full but now it shows full capacity. The even strange thing is when I try to log into the control UI for diagnosis I was-only able to get to this landing page with an input box for “owner password”. I have tried the default password “admin” and also what I could set for it with no luck. There seems to be no change to retrieve or reset password on this landing page either.
Users are reporting that whether it was a factory reset, a hard deletion, or an apparent hack, everything stored on the affected devices has been completely wiped clean.
At the time of publication, there were no reports that any data was restored.
There is little additional information currently available about the issue, but the community of users is speculating that based on what Western Digital has stated, it appears the devices could have been “individually compromised” in a targeted attack.
Either way, users of these networked dives are advised to disconnect them as soon as possible to prevent any potential data loss.
Photobook Collective is a new website for photo book enthusiasts, where they can browse, buy, and sell in a community that is specifically designed to tailor to the niche needs of collectors.
According to one of the founders, Harry Bisel, the website is a member-based community that provides a number of unique and valuable benefits while addressing some of the pain points collectors currently encounter on larger general-purpose marketplaces and auctions sites.
While many creatives will buy photobooks from artists simply because they are inspired by them, these collections of printed art have become a hot commodity in recent years. Photobooks are expensive to produce and often the demand for them is rather low at the time of publication, which means the number of any given book in circulation is quite small. Add in the further reduction of inventory due to damage or loss, and the scarce works of art can quickly become collector items that can suddenly increase in value.
As reported by The Guardian, these books can double or triple in price quite rapidly, and if the photographer happens to gain notoriety after a limited publication run, the value of the book may increase even more. For collectors, that means finding a specific book is often quite difficult, or even if they can be located, expensive. When seeking some of these older books on sites such as Amazon or eBay, the listings may only include stock photos (if any images at all), poor descriptions, the books may be in poor condition or are shipped improperly, and often times can be wildly overpriced due to the platform on which they are listed
According to Bisel, since this site is dedicated exclusively to photo books, it provides a much more robust experience for collectors. He also says that members of Photobook Collective can buy, sell, and trade photobooks directly with each other, on their own terms, and with no listing or selling fees which eliminates the cost of selling and the risk of buying on some of the larger marketplaces. The service also includes the ability to receive payment directly from the buyer for any book sold and keep 100 percent of the proceeds.
The listings will supposedly show information designed specifically for photo books with details and information standards most collectors will be familiar with including multiple images of the actual book listed and the ability to communicate directly with the seller should the buyer have additional questions.
“This project has been a real labor of love for me. More than three decades ago I discovered photo books and began to consume the work of so many great photographers,” Bisel says. “I was offered my first job as a studio photographer, not because I had any experience or formal education, but because of all I was able to learn from those books. For the past several years though, I’ve had a growing concern that many people won’t have the same access – especially to newer work that I did. Shorter print runs and an increasing awareness of the collectible status of photobooks have impacted the availability and affordability of many great new releases.”
Additional features include the ability to create a “want to buy” or wishlist so that other members in the community may be able to help locate these hard-to-find titles, regularly held sales, contests, and even rewards that include rare or very collectible titles. Members can even list their own self-published photobooks and zines through the site.
Membership to the site costs $5 per month (or $50 per year) that helps cover the costs of maintaining and improving Photobook Collective and sourcing new photobooks for the giveaways or member discounts.
“One purchase of a book from the Photobook Collective library can easily result in saving more than the cost of an annual membership, and for most collectors, the Member Appreciation Program alone should be of much greater value than the small fee we charge to be a member,” Bisel says.
At the time of publication, the collective has approximately 120 photo books listed, with more being added as new members register on the site. The company says they will also put a selection of books on sale at significantly reduced prices each month so that more people can afford to purchase them.
Samsung has announced the Galaxy Book Pro and Galaxy Book Pro 360 laptops that it says is a “new generation” of mobile computing devices that bring powerful performance mixed with the mobile DNA of a Samsung Galaxy smartphone.
Both new laptops run Windows and support both LTE and 5G wireless connections which Samsung says allows them to turn any location into a mobile workstation. Additionally, both are outfitted with WiFi 6E compatibility to allow for faster 6GHz internet connections when in a more traditional work environment.
Both devices feature touchscreens, and the Galaxy Book 360 Pro is a fully convertible device that can fold over into a tablet-like form-factor. The Book Pro has a standard clamshell laptop design, but both feature a new Super AMOLED display and are the first-ever Windows PCs to do so. Samsung touts the display as Eye Care-certified by SGS8, which means they produce less blue light emissions than standard LCDs which help your eyes from becoming fatigued over long periods of use. They also feature what Samsung calls and “Intelligent Color Engine” which will automatically fine-tune your color space depending on the task at hand. Specifically for tasks like photo editing, for example, the Galaxy Book Pro series will automatically optimize the color.
What that optimization actually means isn’t particularly clear, however. Unfortunately, both screens cap at 1080p, so high-resolution photo and video editing are probably not the strong suit of these devices, but for on-the-go work, it might be enough.
Both laptops are powered by an eleventh Gen Intel Core processor and Intel Iris Xe graphics. The Galaxy Book Pro series is verified to the Intel Evo platform, which Samsung says signifies “an industry-leading balance of power, immersive graphics, always-on connectivity, and long-lasting battery life.”
The Intelligent Performance Manager also deftly adapts to your computer position, environment, and system load. Automatically modulating fan noise, temperature, and battery usage, it will balance performance and power consumption to deliver a smooth experience that Samsung says will last all day.
The Galaxy Book Pro 360 ships with an upgraded S Pen that is 2.5x times thicker than the ones that are designed for Samsung’s mobile devices, which the company says should result in a more true-to-life writing experience.
Both laptops feature a single Thunderbolt 4 port, a USB Type-C port, and one USB 3.2 port along with a 3.5mm headphone and mic jack, a microSD card reader, and a nano-SIM port.
Samsung notes that the integration of the Galaxy name isn’t just branding: the new laptops can also work with Galaxy devices for increased productivity by allowing users to expand displays onto Galaxy Tabsin Duplicate and Extend modes. The laptop also uses Link to Windows and Microsoft Your Phone which allows calls to be taken and messages to be sent from the laptop, similar to how Apple’s phone and iMessage system works on its devices.
“You can also organize all your photos from every device in one place. Take Super Slow-mo or Single Take content from your Galaxy smartphone and check them out on the bigger screen of your Galaxy Book Pro or Galaxy Book Pro 360,” Samsung elaborates. “Content will appear on your Galaxy Book Pro series in the same format as your Galaxy smartphone including special effects.”
Both the Galaxy Book 360 Pro and Galaxy Book Pro come in a variety of colors and size options. Both models will be available in Mystic Blue, Mystic Silver, and Mystic Pink Gold. The Book Pro starts at $999.99 for the 13-inch and $1,099.99 for the 15-inch models, while the 360 Pro starts at $1,199.99 for the 13-inch and $1,299.99 for the 15-inch.
It should be noted that the base model of both devices has a paltry 8 GB of RAM, which is simply not enough for any regular productivity user. The laptops can be outfitted with up to 32GB of RAM, but at the time of publication, the Samsung website only allowed expansion to 16GB of RAM which added $200 to the base price of both devices.
What does it take for a landscape and nature photographer to get their work in major national newspapers – and also to get a book published? Andrew Fusek Peters is a pro landscape, nature and wildlife photographer based in Shropshire. He has sold hundreds of images to the national newspapers via press agencies, and has a new book out.
The book, Hill & Dale, My Shropshire Year, is a 200 page, colour hardback now published by Yew Tree Press and featuring the best of Andrew’s new wildlife and landscape work, much of which has already appeared in the national papers and magazines such as AP. We love the book: it’s a wonderfully curated and inspiring testament to Andrew’s creativity and sheer hard work, and it’s a particularly impressive achievement considering some of the health issues he has been facing over the last few years.
We caught up with Andrew for a chat to find out more about how the book came together, and how to get more exposure for your landscape and nature work.
How did the book come together? I did a book on the Long Mynd and the Stiperstones Nature Reserve in Shropshire about three years ago, based on a long-term commission for the National Trust and Natural England.
I started to think what I wanted to do next and this new book kind of evolved. Also, my photography skills seemed to go up a couple of levels a few years ago, and I was getting more work in the national papers and photography magazines.
I discovered some new areas in Shropshire I hadn’t shot before. Also, the first lockdown was amazing – it forced me to focus on working in a specific local area. I got some great sunsets over the Devil’s Chair and Niptstone Rock, which featured in the press, so the lockdown made the book something else.
Moonrise over Manstone Rock, Stiperstones, Shropshire
Also, coming out of the lockdown, people were desperate to see something positive and link up with the countryside again. There has been a big response to the book: the first print run sold out in three weeks.
We understand you had a few problems at the printing stage? There were a lot of problems with proof copies, but we worked closely with printer and sorted out the colour proofing. We had a very patient publisher and printing press, so we got it right in the end.
Was the book self-funded? It was a collaboration, so we worked on it together. Yes, I got backing from the publisher, and was grateful for that. Our goal is to break even and to raise awareness of Shropshire – a county which as easily as photogenic as the Lake District or Shetland, in my opinion.
When we got TV naturalist Iolo Williams from Springwatch fame behind us, that was amazing. He really got the project and the hard work I have been putting in for years (“This is a gem of a book, packed full of truly stunning photographs, as Andrew takes us through the changing seasons,” says Iolo. “Here, we are witnessing a man with a profound understanding of and a deep empathy with the natural world.”)
Starling murmuration at Whixall Moss
Did appearing in photo magazines and the national press help you when trying to get this book project off the ground? Yes, appearing in photography magazines and the papers made a big difference. I used to go and hassle people from the magazines at photography shows, as you have to make your own luck. But if I didn’t have any good images to show, they wouldn’t publish me. My news agency is the same: picture editors need to see images from me that are newsworthy, that is the only reason they get in the papers. I work very hard to find moments in nature that have not been captured before.
Orange tip male in flight
Twenty years ago, if I had got an image on the cover of the Times, I would probably got thousands of pounds, now I get hundreds. But people take you much more seriously as a result of this exposure – selling 300 shots to national papers in last four years speaks for itself. Some people are great on social media, but although I don’t have a massive following, I do reach millions when my work appears on the Daily Mail website, for example.
Do you have any tips for readers wanting to get their images published in the national press, or possibly do a book? Just because you have some photos to pitch means nothing. You need to get images of a species showing rare behaviour, or the sun or moon setting over a landscape in a way not often seen before – then it becomes newsworthy. This is hard work, and there are no shortcuts – photography has to become one of the driving forces in your life.
Male green woodpecker leaving the nest
You can do as many photos of the lonely tree as you want, or the milky way about Lulworth Cove, but it’s been done a gazillion times before. If you bring something that hasn’t been done before, that is fresh, it will grab people’s attention. Recently, there was a shot of the comet Neo above Stonehenge, an awesome photo taken by Jeff Overs. Capture something like this and you have a chance of getting somewhere.
What about an example from your portfolio? I decided to try and get a picture of the sun setting on the Devil’s Chair in Shropshire (below), from about a mile away, using a long telephoto lens (Olympus 300mm f/4 with an MC-20 extender). I hadn’t seen this done before. I spent a lot of time working the shot out, planning, and I was able to get it just as lockdown eased. It appeared on the front page of the Times the next day, so the picture editor must have thought it was a fresh and interesting take, too.
Are you still a committed Olympus user? Yes, there are very circumstances I now use my Canon gear apart from astro photography – about 70-80% of the images in the new book are taken on Olympus. I don’t recommend one camera system over another though; my advice to readers is to use the gear that makes you feel most comfortable and works for you.
Further reading How photography can heal your life Why these tops pros are sticking with Olympus
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