December 26, 2009

Best of the Bag Decade: Contributors & Friends, Pt. I

(The Best of the Bag Decade is our end of
the year, end of the decade look at some of the best BAGnews posts and

The incredible contributors and friends of BAGnews make BAG unique.  BAG not only publishes original photojournalism, many times the photographers give readers vital information about context, subject matter, and events behind the image.

Part I of Best of the BAG Decade: Contributors & Friends re-posts the work of four great photographers: Alan Chin, Nina Berman, and Tim Fadek. Part II will feature the work of Lori Grinker, Mario Tama, Peter van Agtmael, Matt Lutton, and Jason Andrew.

Alan Chin

BOB1 rally palin
1., 2.

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BAG’s talented everywhere man, Alan Chin, covered the 2008 presidential candidates for BAGnews, capturing Clinton, Edwards, Obama, Giuliani, McCain, and Palin. He was credentialed for BAGnews at the DNC Convention in Denver and shot GOP rallies (see Our Man in Pennsylvania), including the above shot of a desperate looking Palin at a Shippensburg, PA appearance just a few days before the election.

Alan reported that Palin held her prayerful position at the podium for a full ten minutes.

Alan’s coverage of the DNC Convention delivered incredible photos, including this one of Michelle, Malia, and Sasha Obama gathered onstage after Michelle Obama’s speech, gesturing to a large video screen full of their husband and father:

BOB1 Obama family at convention

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Alan caught Rudy Giuliani at a New Hampshire Segway plant (and noted the employees’ lukewarm reception, something the rest of the media missed) and a haggard John Edwards on the day he dropped out of the race (with each line in his face taking on new meaning when considering his current context):

BOB1 Rudy Edwards
4., 5.

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Why Alan’s Frustrated engendered an in-depth community discussion of the disconnect between campaign-managed photo ops and the effect of the resulting photograph on the public perception of a campaign:

6., 7.

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“[E]ven if we know these scenes are thoroughly staged, their supposed genuineness
still coerces the mind into considering they still could be what they
propose themselves to be.  (Of course, this is much less true with
hardened media and political skeptics, like us, but the
cognitive-perceptual impact on what is generally a skeptical public,
I’m assuming, remains substantive.  …Otherwise, I imagine we’d see
somewhat less control.)”

BAG’s point prompted one reader to remark:

threat of being genuine — which is a boon to a reporters — is that
the positives don’t come close to the negatives. In 2004 Bush spoke
only to pre-chosen crowds of supporters. No chance for anything
unscripted. Repetitious soundbites and carefully tested backdrops were
used and reused daily. And what did America do? Re-elected him over the
guy prone for talking too much, and too often off-script.

This exchange, and many others in the post and subsequent posts, illustrates the value of community access to the photographer’s context. It’s what makes BAG unique.

Alan is probably best known at BAG for his work in the aftermath of Katrina and Rita on the Gulf Coast.  His coverage of the disaster earned BAG a 2006 Koufax award. (I’ve saved Alan’s New Orleans photos for last and only print one as I’ll be discussing our Katrina coverage in an upcoming edition of Best of BAG Decade.)

BOB1 Katrina bus

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Alan Chin is a freelance photojournalist and a regular contributor to BAGnewsNotes. He has covered conflicts in Iraq, the ex-Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Central Asia, and the Middle East as a photojournalist since 1996. He is also a regular contributor to the New York Times, Newsweek, Esquire and Time magazines and his work is in the collection of the Museum Of Modern Art. The New York Times nominated his Kosovo coverage for the Pulitzer Prize twice, in 1999 and 2000.

His contributions at BAG can be found at this link.



BOB1 Berman patriots


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Nina Berman is another great friend and contributor to BAGnews throughout the years (and into the future).

Above is “Little Patriots,” a 2003 photograph from Nina’s book Homeland published in 2008.  BAGnews publisher Michael Shaw wrote the introduction and the cover photo, Stealth Bomber, was posted on BAG the same year.

Nina has been working on the “Homeland” series since 9/11. Her work in this series addresses issues of militarism and security in contemporary America.  Regular BAG readers will remember her troubling images from New York’s Fleet Week, posted in 2007.

BOB1 Berman Fleet Week


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BAG also posted some amazing Berman images during the 2008 financial crisis, the first emphasizing the Wall Street’s lack of human context, the second (from a 2003 photograph) re-interpreted in light of  the grotesque and nightmarish quality of the financial instruments stalking the world economy.

BOB1 Berman Wall Street Monsters

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Nina Berman is a New York-based freelance photographer.  Her work has been recognized with awards in art and journalism from the New York Foundation of the Arts, the Open Society Institute Documentary Fund and the World Press Photo Foundation. She is a contributing photographer for Mother Jones and has worked for top editorial clients including TIME, Newsweek, The Sunday Times Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Colors, German Geo, National Geographic, Fortune, and Marie Claire.

Her contributions to BAGnews can be found at this link.



BOB1 Fadek Qana

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Shortly after the deadly 2006 air strike on Qana, charges surfaced that the Lebanese had staged the attack to paint Israeli forces in a brutal light. Longtime BAGnews friend and contributor Tim Fadek was there and reported on events to our readers via an interview with BAG publisher Michael Shaw in Qana Was Not Staged.  He also contributed the above photo. Fadek’s account is a must read. It is this kind of contribution to the site that makes BAGnews vital in looking beyond the photographs we see every day.

BOB1 FADEK terri

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Tim’s unforgettable Terri’s Army was posted on BAGnews in June 2005. In it, BAG posted Tim’s individual portraits of people who fought to prevent Michael Schiavo from removing his wife’s feeding tube. It’s a fascinating look at extremism and religion in our country.

Tim was one of the first photojournalists to become a regular contributor to BAGnews and has been a part of our ongoing quest to increase the blogosphere’s visual literacy.

Photographer Timothy Fadek has covered conflicts in Iraq, Lebanon, Kosovo, Macedonia, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, the civil uprising in Haiti and the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.  He has been a contributor to several photo books on the World Trade Center attack and the war in Iraq.  Named a “Hero of Photography” by American Photo magazine in 2007, Fadek has received awards and recognition from Pictures of the Year (POYi), National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), Communication Arts, American Photography, among others.  He has served as an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Tim’s contributions to BAG can be found at this link.

–Karen Hull

(photo credits: Alan Chin: 1. Hershey PA, Oct. 28, 2008, 2. Shippensburg, PA, Oct. 28, 2008, 3. Denver. 2008, 4. New Hampshire.  January 5, 2007, 5. 9th Ward, New Orleans. January 30, 2008, 6. , 7. New Hampshire, 2007; 8. New Orleans, 2005. Nina Berman: 9. Ridge-field Park, NJ, July 4, 2003, 10. Nina Berman/Redux. NYC, New York, May 25, 2007, 11.  New York, 2003,  Zoriah Miller: 12. Baghdad, Iraq. 2007, 13. Paris, France, 2009, 14. Zoriah Miller/BAGnewsNotes – Nairobi. January 17, 2009, Tim Fadek: 15. copyright, Tim Fadek, 2006, 16. copyright Tim Fadek, 2005.)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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