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Film stills from the movie “Chance Reunion”

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Unni, our Cinematographer was in India for five weeks on an assignment for CNN. We were so happy to have him back we jumped into our production calendar and started shooting before his head was clear of jetlag! We are now 2 set-ups away from wrapping our shoot. Then…post-production! The actors will have done their fine work; it’ll be up to us to take that collection of footage and weave it together so that it tells the Chance Reunion story.

Unni is experimenting with a color palate for the film. The images accompanying this post are one example of what the film may look like.

We’re also taking steps to show the first cut of our film in January 2013. So, stay tuned to this blog for updates on that as we get closer to the new year. For now, enjoy the photos & as the film takes form in post, I’ll be updating the blog more frequently.

And for those of you that haven’t read it, here’s a link to Liz Barrett’s article in The Alamedan: www.thealamedan.org/news/alameda-serves-backdrop-chance-reunion
San Francisco Chronicle website: http://blog.sfgate.com/inalameda/2012/06/11/alameda-serves-as-backdrop-for-chance-reunion .

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“Sashtanga Pranamam to my Teacher”

(Ultimate Respect and Adoration)

By Unnikrishnan Raveendranathan (Unni)

During the recent Palm Springs Photo FestivalWD Creative Master Colin Finlay took time from his seminar schedule to organize a trip to California’s Salton Sea. As the chair of the photography school and professor at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, Colin invited some of his students from the school and Matt Bennion from WD.

The students made the long trek from San Francisco and Colin wanted to maximize their time and experience during the festival with a hands-on workshop in the field. The recap below and the accompanying video was created to document the day at Salton Sea and explain how Colin approached this very interesting landscape.

The Salton Sea was a freshwater lake back in the 1920s, but by the ’70s, salinity began to rise due to the salt-heavy soil from the desert. There was also toxic run-off and industrial waste from Mexicali and pesticides from the nearby Imperial Valley agriculture fields.

These factors combined to create a poisonous stew brewing in the Salton Sea, which resulted in the death of millions of birds and fish. The sea became 25 percent saltier than the ocean and then it rose — swallowing up homes and businesses in its peculiar, rust-colored water.

“Visit the WD News Blog to read the full article” – WD NEWS BLOG

Louis Isadore Kahn – A World Renowned American Architect

Louis Isadore Kahn (born Itze-Leib Schmuilowsky) (February 20, 1901 or 1902 – March 17, 1974) was a world-renowned American architect of Estonian Jewish origin, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. After working in various capacities for several firms in Philadelphia, he founded his own atelier in 1935. While continuing his private practice, he served as a design critic and professor of architecture at Yale School of Architecture from 1947 to 1957. From 1957 until his death, he was a professor of architecture at the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania. Influenced by ancient ruins, Kahn’s style tends to the monumental and monolithic; his heavy buildings do not hide their weight, their materials, or the way they are assembled. Louis Kahn’s works are considered as monumental beyond modernism.

Louis Kahn’s work infused the International style with a fastidious, highly personal taste, a poetry of light. His few projects reflect his deep personal involvement with each. Isamu Noguchi called him “a philosopher among architects.” He was known for his ability to create monumental architecture that responded to the human scale. He was also concerned with creating strong formal distinctions between served spaces and servant spaces. What he meant by servant spaces was not spaces for servants, but rather spaces that serve other spaces, such as stairwells, corridors, restrooms, or any other back-of-house function like storage space or mechanical rooms. His palette of materials tended toward heavily textured brick and bare concrete, the textures often reinforced by juxtaposition to highly refined surfaces such as travertine marble. While widely known for his spaces’ poetic sensibilities, Kahn also worked closely with engineers and contractors on his buildings. The results were often technically innovative and highly refined. In addition to the influence Kahn’s more well-known work has on contemporary architects (such as Muzharul Islam, Tadao Ando), some of his work (especially the unbuilt City Tower Project) became very influential among the high-tech architects of the late 20th century (such as Renzo Piano, who worked in Kahn’s office, Richard Rogers and Norman Foster). His prominent apprentices include Muzharul Islam, Moshe Safdie, Robert Venturi, Jack Diamond.

Many years after his death, Kahn continues to inspire controversy. Interest is growing in a plan to build a Kahn-designed Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park at the southern tip of Roosevelt Island. A New York Times editorial opined:

There’s a magic to the project. That the task is daunting makes it worthy of the man it honors, who guided the nation through the Depression, the New Deal and a world war. As for Mr. Kahn, he died in 1974, as he passed alone through New York’s Penn Station. In his briefcase were renderings of the memorial, his last completed plan.

The editorial describes Kahn’s plan as: …simple and elegant. Drawing inspiration from Roosevelt’s defense of the Four Freedoms – of speech and religion, and from want and fear – he designed an open ‘room and a garden’ at the bottom of the island. Trees on either side form a ‘V’ defining a green space, and leading to a two-walled stone room at the water’s edge that frames the United Nations and the rest of the skyline.

Critics note that the panoramic view of Manhattan and the UN are actually blocked by the walls of that room and by the trees. Other as-yet-unanswered critics have argued more broadly that not enough thought has been given to what visitors to the memorial would actually be able to do at the site. The proposed project is opposed by a majority of island residents who were surveyed by the Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation group currently working extensively on the island.

The movement for the memorial, which was conceived by Kahn’s firm almost 35 years ago, needed to raise $40 million by the end of 2007; as of July 20, it had collected $5.1 million. There is a merest hint in Architectural Record about the often-heard argument that it must be built because it was literally Kahn’s last project; and this is rebutted by those who’ve said the plans aren’t enough like Kahn’s other work for it to be touted as a memorial to Kahn as well as FDR.

My Architect: A Son’s Journey is a 2003 documentary film about the American architect Louis Kahn. Kahn led an extraordinary career and left three families behind when he died of a heart attack in a Penn Station bathroom. One of his most memorable quotes is “When I went to high school, I had a teacher in the arts, who was head of the department of Central High, William Grey, and he gave me a course in Architecture, the only course in the high school I am sure, in Greek, Roman, Renaissance, Egyptian, and Gothic Architecture, and at that point two of my colleagues and I realized that only Architecture was to be my life, and how accidental our existences are, really, and how full of influence by circumstance.” Louis I. Kahn, quote from the documentary film “My Architect, A Son’s Journey” a film by his son Nathaniel Kahn. Louis Kahn’s illegitimate son Nathaniel Kahn, and features interviews made the film with many giants of modern architecture, including Muzharul Islam, I.M. Pei, Anne Tyng and Philip Johnson. Throughout the film, Kahn visits all of his father’s buildings including Yale Center for British Art, Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban and the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad.

Magnum Photographers – Remembering Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros

On 20th of April 2011, our tribe lost two of its finest, when Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros lost their lives in Misrata, Libya. We at Magnum wish to honor both these two extremely dedicated, brave and talented photographers who died doing what they lived for: being witnesses where most dare not go, and telling the story of isolated people under extreme conditions. Our thoughts go to the Hondros and Hetherington families. While it might not be much consolation in the midst of such shock and loss, you have a great deal to be proud of. They both leave big holes in their absences, and their photographs speak of how many lives they have touched. The loss of Tim is one that hit very close to home here at Magnum. A dear friend for a great many of us, we mourn the loss of a loved one. What was always very clear with Tim was that the foundation for his extreme dedication and creative talent was simply that he was one good human being. He loved people, he was curious about them, and he had a great deal he wanted to communicate. Tim pushed the boundaries of our craft further than almost anyone, and has become a lighthouse of inspiration for how documentary photography can evolve from this point onwards. As those close to him knew, Tim was preparing to apply to Magnum this June, while we were preparing to welcome him into our family. Many of us will now always feel there is an empty chair with his name on it during our gatherings. We hope that Tim’s legacy will be his own example for future generations of photographers. This might be petty change for the loss of such a man, so much good work yet to come, so much companionship, and so many untold stories. But that is what we are left with.

Tim, we thank you for that.

Jonas Bendiksen
President
Magnum Photos

My Freedom Or Death – Condition ONE Beta – Future of Video & Film Making

Condition ONE is a mobile media technology company developing the tools and platform to combine filmmaking, photojournalism and mobile devices to pioneer powerful immersive experiences.

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The Libyan desert near Ras Lanouf
March, 2011

Demonstrations have given way to bloody conflict. Battle lines sway back and forth as the Benghazi-centered ragtag rebels combat Tripoli’s mercenaries and loyalists. Pro-Gaddafi forces mount their first coordinated offensive, exposing the rebels as woefully untrained and unorganized. Defiance turns to anguish when casualties mount. Slivers of hope rest on defecting army generals and foreign intervention.

Photojournalist Patrick Chauvel brings us this immersive video from the rebels’ front lines. “It’s a very sad story,” he says. “These guys are students, they’re hairdressers, they’re bakers, bankers, philosophers, teachers. They are no military.”

Chauvel is concerned for his safety. Gaddafi loyalists target the media and could cut off any escape. Four New York Times journalists are missing at the time and an Al Jazeera cameraman dies in the days that follow. Patrick says fighting in the flat, open desert divides the rebels into two camps: lucky and unlucky. Shelling hits at random, missing by hundreds of meters one moment and striking a direct hit the next. Chauvel fears the misses are the warning shots. He plans to escape before the battle becomes a massacre.

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Chris Hondros’ Final Pictures Before Death In Libya

Getty photographer Chris Hondros was killed in Libya on Wednesday along with ‘Restrepo‘ director Tim Hetherington, after a mortar attack hit them and two other photographers. Though initial reports of his death were first retracted, it was later confirmed that he passed away from brain damage as a result of the attacks. Fellow photographers Guy Martin and Michael Brown were also injured by the mortars. Hondros, who was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2004, was lauded for his commitment to reporting the plight of others and putting his life on the line. “Chris made sacrifices in his own life to bring the hardships of war into the public eye, and that dedication created award-winning photographs that shaped the way people viewed the world,” Tyler Hicks, a New York Times photographer and friend of Hondros’, wrote. “He was a close friend for nearly 20 years. The tragedy of his death had brought so many memories to the surface, and I’m grateful to be among the many people who were lucky enough to know him. He will be missed.” Click on the photo below to see the final pictures he made before his death.