Save me the outrage

Most of the comments I’ve received around my posting “Show us the bloody bits” focus the writers’ unhappiness with my position on photos taken by a Washington Post photographer. The photos show the horror of a youngster having her clitoris removed in a back alley in Kurdish Iraq. The commentators seems more upset about the so-called violation of young Sheelan’s privacy than the mutilation of her body. The photos were taken by Andrea Bruce who IMHO should win a Pulitzer.

This is a sad commentary on where some people put their priorities.

Thank goodness there are still photojournalists out there like Ms Bruce. Here is a link to her weekly column currently being written while she is on assignment in Baghdad: and here is a link to her bio:


Fix your old photos

One of my students (who I hope reads this post) has a large number of photos that he needs to repair and scan into his digital darkroom. Thanks to one of the photographers who is on Twitter I can now suggest he checks ScanCafe.  Fixing tears and stains isn’t easy and scanning can be a headache too. ScanCafe might be just the ticket.

Hot Shoe Diaries

To all my students looking to improve their small flash work…order Joe McNally’s The Hot Shoe Diaries right now! My copy just arrived (via and Canada Post) and while Joe uses Nikon flashes, the information is valuable to anyone interested in better flash work. I’ve got to get a cup of tea and read Joe’s book to calm me down after my last post (below).

BTW Joe also wrote The Moment It Clicks and I highly recommend it as well. Joe is one of the guys I want to meet in person someday and just shake his hand. He’s an amazingly great photographer.

Show us the bloody bits

I’m outraged over the outrage swirling about the publishing of photos shot by Andrea Bruce of the Washington Post that show a Kurdish girl having parts of her clitoris cut off.

I’m a former award-winning news photographer and the outrage being voiced by Tewfic El-Sawy who writes The Travel Photographer and Roy Greenslade’s blog at The Guardian newspaper in England is regrettable.  Yes the photos invade this child’s privacy but so much less so than the knife being used by the “auntie” who cut her. Look at these photos. See the trust in this child’s eyes. Look at her innocent curiosity at what’s to befall her. Now look at the pain in her face as her part of her womanhood is cut away.

And you men moan about her privacy! I say show us the bloody parts. Rub our faces in this practice. Make us ashamed to sit here commenting from the safety of our homes.

Shame on you. Shame on you both. You do your readers a great disservice.

Ms Bruce’s photos are gruesome and revolting. And, yet they are necessary. The shine a light into a very dark back alley. You gentlemen with your concerns over this girl’s privacy would throw a blanket over this barbaric practice. With any luck at all Ms Bruce should win many more awards for her work. I trust she will continue to carry her camera into places I would dare not go and show me things I would dearly love to never see.

Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography Dead

I visited the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography (CMCP) a few years ago when on a business trip to Ottawa. Seems the center was closed and will now become a government space to do whatever it is the government images does in Ottawa. I’m not impressed. The CMCP was a unique institution in Canada. It was easily accessible to the public (It was next to the Chateau Laurier hotel) and put the spotlight on Canadian photography. Now the museum will become part of the Nation Art Gallery of Canada. This is a shame. We (Canadians) should have our own distinct center for photography.

The original CMCP was closed to fix some leaks in the building and now looks like it’s sunk under government bureaucratic thinking (or is that an oxymoron? Speaking of morons…oh never mind,,, you get my point I’m sure).

Michael Van der Tol has a strong blog about this sad affair.

Travel photography

Stop what you’re doing and spend a few amazing moments with Julie Aucoin and her amazing travel photography. Here’s is someone with the eye of an artist and the skills of a master photographer combined with the ability to get to places we’ve only dreamed about. Julie’s thoughtful, stunning images are accompanied by music of the country she has visited. This came via The Travel Photographer. Here’s Julie’s site Julie Aucoin‘s travel photography and another website here.

Camera Clubs

I just got back from the meeting of the Oakville Camera Club. Tonight the members were offering critiques of other members’ works. I’ll tell you, there were some pretty nice images shown but if I see one more photo of a tree… Also, the projector had a purple cast but that’s part of the fun. This isn’t super serious photography. This is photography done for the sheer enjoyment of it.

One newcomer, who I thought might have been feeling a little intimidated, asked what kind of cameras was everyone using. One of the executive members suggested that most members shot with either Canon or Nikon digital single-lens reflex cameras. Well that might be true but a lot of them would do well to go back to a point and shoot for awhile and focus (pardon the pun)on their composition.

My thought is let the camera look after the exposure (at least for now) and concentrate on getting better composition. Some said if you wanted to be a more interesting photographer then become a more interesting person. i agree and that has nothing to do with how big your camera is.

BTW this is one of my photos from the Canada Blooms 2009 show. This was my first black and white conversion using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro. I don’t know about you, but I’m impressed.

Peter West Photo - B&W - Blooms 2009