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Posts Tagged ‘World Press Photo’

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Above: Two woman await a tram in a shelter advertising an exhibition of Richard Avedon pictures which was on at the Foam_Fotografiemuseum in Amsterdam while we were there.

In February I was in Holland, together with our Product Manager, Ian Blackburn, and Media Manager, Dominique Le Roux, to work on a joint project with four Dutch organisations, World Press Photo, FreeVoice, lokaalmondiaal and the Tropen Museum. What has brought our five organisations together is a very exciting project centred around the 2010 Fifa World Cup. Together, the five organisations, headed by World Press Photo and FreeVoice, have been awarded over €2.2 million by the Dutch Postcode Lottery to carry out the project.

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Above: Africa Media Online’s Media Manager, Dominique Le Roux (left), together with colleagues from Dutch partner, lokaalmondiaal at a pub in Arnhem, a town outside Amsterdam, Holland.

The aim of the project is to bring an African perspective to the reporting on the soccer World Cup, which will be held in Africa for the first time in history – in South Africa in June and July 2010. In the latter half of this year (2009) World Press Photo and FreeVoice will be training photojournalists, radio journalists, and text journalists at a number of venues around the continent. The journalists will then report from their various nations on the lead up to the event and that content will be distributed by Africa Media Online to African and global publishers. It will also be published on lokaalmondiaal’s web site for the Dutch Public. The best of the content will also be curated to form part of a major exhibition in the main exhibition hall at the Tropen Museum in Amsterdam which will be launched just before the staging of the World Cup itself.

Then in 2010, the best of the qualifying journalists will be invited to South Africa where they will cover the 2010 Fifa World Cup on the ground. There will be three teams, two based in Gauteng province but traveling to the games, and one traveling down the coast to finish up in Cape Town at the semi-final due to be held there. The teams will not just be reporting on sports, but rather on every aspect of life that is impacted in any way by the soccer fantasia.

Throughout, Africa Media Online will be distributing the content to publications all over Africa and the World. As part of this we will have created the application web site and upgraded our MEMAT system to facilitate seamless distribution.

After the event, a select group of photographers will qualify for the 2010 African Photo Entrepreneur Programme to be run by Africa Media Online, and lokaalmondiaal will be putting together a book with the best of what was produced. There will also be a traveling exhibition in South Africa.
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Above: From left to right: Project Manager for the “Twenty Ten: African media on the road to 2010 (and beyond)” project, Ruth De Vries, from World Press Photo with her colleague Katusha Sol, Africa Media Online’s Media Manager, Dominique Le Roux and Product Manager, Ian Blackburn, and a representative of the Tropen Museum in Amsterdam view the main exhibition hall of the museum where the project exhibition will be staged just before the 2010 Fifa World Cup next year.

So it is all very exciting and it starts right here with you and or those you can encourage signing up to:
*Make application to be one of the journalists to cover the event (the closing date for registering to receive a username and password is 4 May 2009). If you want to be considered for APEP next year, please sign up to participate in this project.
*Sign Up to receive information about the project and, if you are an African publication out side of South Africa, to receive free content.

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amo-top-extended-white_ap2.jpgAbove: A mock up of the new top include for the new MEMAT system using the Africa Media Online web site as an example.

Next Generation of MEMAT begins to Rise from its Foundations

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After a year of development behind the scenes we are at last beginning to see the next generation of MEMAT take shape. The whole process has taken us far longer than could have been imagined, but creating a system that can handle images, sound, and video has proved to be highly complex.

We spent most of last year getting the base infrastructure together led by our Head of IT, Daniel Smith. Daniel is an absolute wizz. He does miracles with tight budgets. He has come up with an incredibly scalable system that means we can deploy mirrored servers all over the world in multiple depots. This translates to both security and high speed access.

The base system also utilizes the very latest developments in metadata. This is still very much a developing field. I happened to be at the first international metadata conference in 2007 at the CEPIC convention in Florence, Italy and we have tried to keep up with developments since then. The advantage of this is, of course, that right at the heart of the system are global standards which means cross-platform compatibility. So, if you load media onto the new MEMAT system, that media is not forced into a format that is unique to that system – rather your hard work of capturing data is maintained, no matter what system you chose to migrate that media to. The other advantage is that the metadata in the files can be leveraged to ensure very powerful search filtering.

At the heart of the base infrastructure of the new MEMAT is The Vault. The Vault is a digital repository with virtual “deposit boxes” which can be very easily written to write once media. The concept was given to us by Peter Krogh who wrote The DAM Book. We brought him out last year to teach at our Digital Campus and he has been a real friend to us. (Rumour has it that he is about to bring out a brand new version of The DAM Book, so watch this space.)

Originally we had planned to use an open source media management system at the core of the new MEMAT. That, unfortunately did not work out, and it did set us back some months. It just was not up to the professional standards we require. So Rosanne and I have spent long hours doing hand drawn wire frames. We got up to 75 pages! At the same time, those wire frames are being transformed into PDF designs by Brendan Temple at Temple Creative. Brendan is a real gem. Some years ago he spent some time in the UK heading up the designs for two major picture collections – Digital Vision (which is not part of Getty Images) and Image Source. He then helped us with elements of our MEMAT 2.0 system and now we have the privilege of his heading up the design of the new MEMAT, and I am sure you will agree, he has done a fantastic job.

So now we are on to the development with many programmers beavering away using Rapid Application Development protocols. They are using a combination of Ruby on Rails and PHP (both programming languages) to develop the system. We have already used this in the development of the application web sites for the Twenty Ten project and for MENA Training Programme for World Press Photo, and it has worked really well, giving a solid product with very few bugs.

So all in all, it is very exciting to at last see things taking shape. We are really grateful to the support of the European Union through Gijima KZN who provided part funding for development and to the Dutch Postcode Lottery who through World Press Photo and FreeVoice have also provided funding toward further development. This has been a costly venture and their help has been invaluable.

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Black or White

As part of launching the new MEMAT system, the Africa Media Online site is getting a face lift. Temple Creative has given us two possible designs, but we would love your input on which one to chose. The image used is one of my favourites from Photo Access.

Here they are:
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We await your feedback on our poll below:

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Picture Above: Africa Media Online’s Digital Campus is being run in Joburg this week after a brilliant week at the Cape Town School of Photography in Cape Town. The team at the Cape Town School of Photography did a wonderful job of hosting the Digital Campus. This week, Museum Africa and the Market Photo Workshop are our hosts

In this blog:

1. Peter Krogh masterclasses meeting the need in Pietermaritzburg and Cape Town
2. World Press Photo adds value to African Photo Entrepreneur Programme
3. Microsoft gives photo entrepreneurs a kick-start with Expression Media donation
4. FotoFinder makes a way for photographer from Liberia

1. Peter Krogh masterclasses meeting the need in Pietermaritzburg and Cape Town

Peter Krogh’s digital asset management courses have been receiving rave reviews around the country. This is the first time these masterclasses are being run in South Africa and if the comments in the evaluation forms are anything to go by they certainly do seem to be meeting a need in the market.

Peter Krogh demonstrating how Google Maps pinpoints exactly where he took a photograph after he matched his GPS tracker log with the time stamp on the image

What were the major benefits that you gained from the training?

“It was awesome! It gave me: 1. A major reality check 2. What to do about where I am at” – Cape Town Professional Photographer

“Understanding how a system of storage/cataloguing can work and increase productivity” – Cape Town Professional Photographer

“I realised how unorganised and dangerous my back-up system is” – Cape Town Professional Photographer

“Respect! To treat images with respect.” – Cape Town Professional Photographer

“A complete understanding of the whole workflow using the best of various software environment and a clear system to move files through production into an archive that is fully backed up and secure. This will help me manage and preserve my digital archive for years to come. Thank you so much! Also really cool insights into the future of imaging” – Pietermaritzburg Professional Photographer

“Unbelievable knowledge that can take me into the future and allow me to manage my data in an effective and efficient and long lasting and scalable manner. It’s gonna make a huge difference to the potential and accessibility of my data…” – Cape Town Professional Photographer

“Peter’s approach to organisation is quite radical compared to the way I have been working. He makes use of software to create faster, more efficient workflow. I gained a good understanding of DAM in general and information on backup systems, hard drives etc” – Cape Town Professional Photographic Trainer

2. World Press Photo adds value to African Photo Entrepreneur Programme

The Cape Town leg of the African Photo Entrepreneur Programme was enriched by the presence of Maarten Koets, head of education at World Press Photo. World Press Photo is an independent not-for-profit organisation based in Holland which is best known for organising the world’s largest and most prestigious annual press photography contest which becomes a traveling exhibition annually that is visited by over two million people in some 45 countries worldwide.

Maarten presented a slide show of images from Africa that have featured in the World Press Photo competition over recent years. The hard hitting imagery proved an inspiration to all present last Thursday evening (August 14). At the end of the evening participant Clare Thomas expressed her gratitude saying, “I’m feeling quite emotional, I hardly have words. I am so grateful for all that we have been exposed to and how it is lifting our vision.”

At the end of the week of masterclasses the participants had got together to present gifts of prints of their work to the trainers and AMO staff, a gesture much appreciated by all on the receiving end.

The African Photo Entrepreneur Programme has been partially supported by the European Union through Gijima KZN and by Africa Media Online.

Click here to see who made it to APEP Cape Town

3. Microsoft gives photo entrepreneurs a kick-start with Expression Media donation

Microsoft corporation in Redmond, Washington has come to the support of African photo entrepreneurs in donating a copy of Microsoft Expression Media to each of the 40 photographers participating in the African Photo Entrepreneur programme.

What used to be called iView Media Pro, Microsoft’s Expression Media has been recommended by Africa Media Online to photographers and archives for several years as the best commercially available programme for organising and managing an image collection. As seen here, the Mac version of the product is still supported by Microsoft

Peter Krogh, author of “The DAM Book,” who has been in South Africa running digital masterclasses as part of Africa Media Online’s “Digital Campus,” opened the door for the donation. He was so inspired by meeting many of the participants in the African Photo Entrepreneur Programme on the Pietermaritzburg “Digital Campus” that he emailed Jeff Greene in Microsoft’s Rich Media Group in Redmond, Washington DC, USA telling him about the programme. Within 24 hours Geoff had come back saying 40 copies of Expression Media are ready to ship.

“We are really grateful for Microsoft’s support of the photographer’s on the African Photo Entrepreneur Programme,” said Africa Media Online’s director, David Larsen. Africa Media Online has had a long relationship with the Expression Media product which used to be called iView Media Pro, having recommended the software in the South African market for a few years. “Having researched various options I was convinced it was the best of all the systems available,” said David. “The great thing is that with Microsoft taking over, the PC version of the programme is now on a par with the original Mac version which is good news for the photographers on PC. Expression Media is currently the best programme on the market for a photographer to manage a database of images and it is a great kick start for African photo entrepreneurs starting to grapple with managing a digital library.”

4. FotoFinder makes a way for photographer from Liberia

Ahmed Jallazo from Monrovia, Liberia, arrives at Museum Africa where several of the Johannesburg Digital Campus masterclasses are being run

Germany based picture library, Fotofinder GmbH came to the rescue of photographer, Ahmed Jallazo from Liberia in West Africa this month. Ahmed had been selected for inclusion in the African Photo Entrepreneur Programme but did not have the funds to get to South Africa and manage his living costs for the programme. Ali Packzensky, Director of the German based organisation, had met Africa Media Online’s Director of International Sales at CEPIC in May and had been inspired by the vision of the African Photo Entrepreneur Programme. When there seemed no way for Ahmed to make it, a telephone conversation between Ali and Africa Media Online’s director, David Larsen, resulted in Ali putting up the finances for Ahmed’s travel while Africa Media Online undertook to provide accommodation and board.

Ahmed was discovered a number of years ago by South African photographer Nic Bothma during the Liberian civil war working as a street photographer. Nic was working with EPA and Ahmed worked alongside him during the war learning the skill of a press photographer. In the past few years he has continued to string for EPA in West Africa.

In November, Ali is expected to be a part of the final stage of the African Photo Entrepreneur Programme, the Global Competitiveness Masterclass, which aims at giving the participating photographers insight in to the global imaging industry and the means to compete on the global stage.

Although the African Photo Entrepreneur Programme was geared at participants in southern Africa in 2008, Africa Media Online had applications from all over the continent and seven photographers were accepted from other parts of Africa. Most of these photographers made their own way to South Africa to participate in the programme. To see participants from other parts of Africa click here

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