Blog: Blog

Melissa Inducted into Indiana Hall of Fame… Journalism Profs Roll Over With Disbelief…


This story was posted on Jan. 2, 2013.

Six new members of the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame will be inducted into the organization at a ceremony April 27 at Indiana University in Bloomington.

The new members, honored for their distinguished careers in newspaper or broadcast journalism or journalism education, include:

    • The late Joe Aaron, a longtime reporter and columnist for the Evansville Courier. Aaron joined the Courier in 1955 after working for newspapers in New Mexico, Montana and Virginia. He began writing a five-days-a-week column for the Courier in 1957, continuing until he died of a heart attack in 1986 at age 57. Aaron won a National Headliner Club Award for best local interest column, but the greatest tribute to his appeal might be that the Evansville Courier & Press continues republishing his columns in its Sunday editions 26 years after his death.
    • Melissa Farlow, a native of Paoli, Ind., an award-winning photojournalist for National Geographic and several newspapers. She graduated from Indiana University in 1974, after which she became a photographer for the (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal. Her work chronicling riots over court-ordered school desegregation helped the Courier-Journal win the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography. She later worked for the Pittsburgh Press before joining National Geographic, for which she has gone on assignments around the globe. She has also been an instructor with the Missouri Photo Workshop for more than 25 years.

“The Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame grows stronger and becomes more significant each year because of the caliber of the people chosen for the 2013 class,” said hall of fame president Ray Moscowitz. “The board of directors deserves a lot of credit for the time and effort it took in selecting these six outstanding people to join the ranks of the IJHF.”

The Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame was established by the Indiana Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in 1966 to recognize and honor Hoosier journalists who have significantly contributed to the profession.  It is housed at Indiana University’s School of Journalism.


National Geographic Christie’s Auction | Links to Our Photos and Some We Should Have Bought

[Read more…]

Annenberg Space for Photography Exhibit and Film “No Strangers” opens in LA on November 17


LOS ANGELES, CA (August 23, 2012)–The Annenberg Space for Photography is pleased to announce its next exhibit – no strangers: ancient wisdom in a modern world, a group show about the wonder of culture and the plight of indigenous people throughout the world. no strangers is guest curated by esteemed anthropologist, author and photographer Wade Davis. This exhibit opens to the public in Los Angeles on November 17, 2012 and runs through February 24, 2013.

no strangers explores the ways cultures express a shared humanity and navigate the circle of life. It poses a fundamental question: What does it mean to be human and alive? When the people of the world answer this question, they do so in 7,000 unique voices. Tragically, half of these may be silenced within a generation or two. At risk is our human legacy, a vast archive of knowledge and expertise. Rediscovering a new appreciation for the diversity of culture is a crucial challenge that should be faced.

Photographers featured in the exhibit are Carol Beckwith & Angela Fisher, Wade Davis, Chris Johns, Lynn Johnson, Steve McCurry, Randy Olson, Chris Rainier and Hamid Sardar.

…The exhibit will feature an original short documentary produced by Arclight Productions for the Annenberg Space for Photography. The film will be shown in vivid detail on two 14’ by 7’ screens in 4K resolution. Filmed in locations throughout the world, from Washington, DC to British Columbia, Canada to London to Mongolia, the documentary will feature additional photographs, interviews and behind the scenes footage with exhibit photographers, indigenous people and experts. The film will examine indigenous cultures through photography’s lens and encourage viewers to consider ancient traditions in a new context.

The themes explored in the exhibit include: The Circle of Life, Our Shared Origins,
Ancient Wisdom, Sacred Geography, Endangered, Globalization, Ritual & Passages, Beauty, Quest for Spirit and Joy of Culture.

Instagram-And the Intersection with Professionals

National Geographic magazine opened up it’s Instagram account to a number of us and was received enthusiastically as a “behind the scenes” way for photographers to communicate. Here are a couple of paragraphs from the BJP article. You can click on the link at the end to read more.

But one household name was quick to realise Instagram’s full potential. A few weeks after its launch, Instagram signed its first major brand partnership with National Geographic. When the deal was first announced, the goal was for National Geographic to share photo tips and offer photography challenges to its followers. But in recent months, it has become an integral part of the magazine’s operations – with professional photographers taking over NatGeo’s feed of images – reporting instantly from their travels and photo shoots. As a result, a number of renowned photographers have created their own accounts and are now building their own following of dedicated photography enthusiasts.

BJP claims that Instagram signed  with NG as a “brand partner,” in the graph above, but I’m not sure that is actually true. There was an article in TechCrunch about the possibility of this, but folks at NGM who should know, say a deal was never made.

What is interesting is how different publications are dealing with this phenomena, the New Yorker is paying a different photographer each week to add photos to their Instagram account. NGM is not paying but feels the additional traffic to the individual photographers will make it worthwhile. Ed Kashi has photographed for both feeds and talks about the future possibilities in the BJP article:

“What concerns me is that this is yet another channel for creating and disseminating photography that does not bring in income. At least not yet,” says Kashi. “I gather ‘building your brand’ is all the rage and while I acknowledge the importance of that, it’s not why I create nor do I see a direct correlation to making a living and developing this field into the digital era where creators’ work is respected, compensated and properly appreciated.”

[Read more…]

Wild Horses Remix – When a Photographer’s Life and Hollywood Intertwine

The black stallion reared up to face the helicopter. Dust and brush pelted me as I braced, pointing my camera upward as it hovered, bearing down on me. Sun streaked into my lens. It looked near perfect…

Of course it looked near perfect.  It was a MOVIE—not an authentic life encounter with real wild horses and helicopters like I experienced when I was working on a story for National Geographic magazine on mustangs.

(And… no, that’s not me. She’s an actress (Mireille Enos) who plays Brad Pitt’s wife in an upcoming zombie movie, and she is the heroine in this film.)

Although there were long hours waiting to shoot pictures, there wasn’t the uncertainty I feel in real life wondering “if” it will happen but in this case “when” it would happen. There were a few parallels to my life, but I still am a bit mystified how I ended up on a Hollywood movie set. The manufactured scenes looked as realistic as the real-life Western roundups I witnessed with horses, helicopters and wranglers.

I can always tell it is the end of a semester when students are on deadline and write me with a list of questions for a class paper. They want to know where is the most exciting place I’ve ever been, what is my favorite picture and how they can become a “National Geographic photographer.” The Internet makes me accessible. Randy and I also get numerous requests to donate photographs to fundraise for worthy causes. Some get answered. Others don’t. When I am on the road for weeks at a time, emails like this can get lost in the shuffle.

I kept one such email request in the IN box, however, and read it months later. A woman making a film wanted to use some of my photographs—her subject was near and dear to my heart—wild horses.

We corresponded and spoke on the phone.  I heard her passion and engaged. One thing led to another and all of a sudden I found myself on a plane to LA to photograph on a movie set with some of the most impressive, talented people in Hollywood film.  I have to admit that part of what captured my attention is that Stephanie Martin co-wrote a script with her Wellesley classmate Jessica Walsh to point out the issues surrounding mustangs in the American West. She happened onto my web site and found some inspiration and formed a story where a magazine photographer has an encounter with a mustang named Phantom and ends up photographing a BLM round up of wild horses. No, it isn’t about me specifically–I wasn’t arrested (that would be EARLIER in my career) and I didn’t grow up in Nevada (Indiana), but I was intrigued that my life and my photographs of wild horses triggered a reaction from her, and something told me this would be an interesting experience.

Stephanie (on far left in above photo, next to me) who has made a career as a Cinematographer in features, shorts, documentaries and commercials, was accepted into an American Film Institute directing workshop for women. She is a sincere, strong-willed, persuasive and focused woman who was following her dream to direct—but little did I know that she is also married to one of THE MOST talented and admired cinematographers in the world (Robert Richardson—google him) who won Academy Awards for Hugo (last year), also for The Aviator and for JFK.  He’s worked with directors Martin Scorsese, John Sayles, Rob Reiner, Oliver Stone, Barry Levinson, Robert De Niro, Errol Morris, Robert Redford, and Quintin Tarantino and has an amazing eye for drama and light. Bob was going to shoot Stephie’s film.

So this short 12-15 minute film with a budget raised partly on Kickstarter was in reality a pretty big production of some of the most gifted assistant directors, editors, camera operators, producers, actors that anyone could assemble. They were all DONATING their time and talents to make a great little movie that might turn into a big-time full-length feature film. At any one time there were dozens of people on the set—but there were so many friends and co-workers behind the scenes—I am guessing there were 60-70 people involved in the one-week shoot.

My role was to photograph images that the heroine photographer shoots in the film (Mireille Enos, TV show “The Killing” who also stars with Brad Pitt in “World War Z” is shown above)…to coach her to be a believable photographer (she was a natural)…and to photograph behind the scenes (much fun but a delicate dance). Bob let me set up a camera anywhere around him—under him—over his shoulder, beside him—of course just not in front of him. He was aware of everything going on around him all the time. Not a particularly willing subject, he tolerated me making photographs of him. I think he understood this was Stephanie’s moment and he wanted it to work.

[Read more…]

On Set for Annenberg Film and Exhibit: No Strangers

Backstage, Lumix Photofestival, Germany

Craig photographs Melissa getting ready at the Lumix Photofestival. If he wins a third Pulitzer, we will print this out, make him sign it and sell it for a lot of money 🙂

Lumix Photofestival for Young Photographers Roundup

All the gloom and doom about the demise of print media was put aside last week after spending a few days in Hannover, Germany at the 3rd LUMIX festival for young photojournalists.  The sophisticated and thoughtful work I saw there – and more than that – the commitment these emerging photojournalists have — gave me new hope.

Christopher Cappozziello, an American photographer was awarded the Lammehuber Award for his sensitive, yet unblinking look into a very personal story about his twin brother who has cerebral palsy. In The Distance Between Us, the unpleasant realities are interpreted through the eyes of this young photographer.

[Read more…]

Wild Horses Short Film-Melissa on Set with Stephanie Martin and Robert Richardson

Stephanie is directing a new short film inspired in part by the photographs of wild horses on this site and by Melissa’s life as a still photographer working for a large magazine trying to do some good for the plight of wild horses in the American West.

Her husband, Robert Richardson, is the cinematographer-maybe the best cinematographer working today. His filmography is here… Salvador, Platoon, Wall Street, Born on the Fourth of July, JFK, The Horse Whisperer, Snow Falling on Cedars, The Good Shepherd, Hugo… too many to mention.

No animals were hurt in the production of this short film. This is a fake horse.


Naked Bike Ride, Portland Oregon

For a variety of reasons, we live in Pennsylvania and Oregon depending on work and our schedules and what our families are doing.

I’ve written before about the shock of going from culture to culture and how that can affect your notion of how group think can affect everything in culture whether you are a Pygmy or a Svan.  I am pretty comfortable bouncing back and forth between these cultural groups and I’m not sure what prepared me to fit in so easily. I am from the midwest and did not travel outside the United States until in my 20s. Yet, when I fly into a foreign land where cultural differences are great and creature comforts are few, with a camera in hand, the difficulties don’t matter.

Strangely enough, I find it more difficult sometimes to go from rural/suburban Pennsylvania (where our little town is provincial and we are surrounded by 13 churches, some of whose bells resonate constantly inside our living space) to Portland Oregon that on the very first night I land here, there are thousands of people going thru the streets naked on their bicycles.


This is from bikeportland.orgI saw so many beautiful and happy people. My face is still sore from smiling. I love how this ride attracts such a wide swath. I met one woman who I know from bike advocacy work. She said she just happened to be out biking and saw everyone riding by. “Everyone was just so nice and welcoming,” she said, “so I just decided to join in.”

I contacted everyone I could by email to get permissions to run these photos. It wasn’t possible for the folks that were just riding by in HORDES in the video, but there are many other examples of that kind of video from this event on the internet. But I think it is important in almost any venue to work on consent.