Tutorials | Miklas Njor
Epoch time that is way off

Correcting Epoch time strangeness

I was accessing data from an API and made an Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA). One irregularity that I noticed, was that the epoch time was off by roughly forty-six thousand years! How the epoch time came to be so long, could stem from the decimal “dot” had somehow been removed.

A hack work-around was to convert the epoch time to a string variable, chop off the last three digits, insert a decimal dot, and glue the string back together as an float. This way I was able to get the correct value. As far as I can see, this way of doing it, is safe for values up to the year 9999, possibly more.

Mapping key/value in semi-structured data in Python

 Wordcloud Diskussion

Wordcloud Diskussion

I had to merge several wordclouds into a larger wordcloud based off all keywords and counts, and I only had access to the textfiles containing the keyword and the keyword count, not a list with all the keywords.

In order to be able to do a re-count and to build the new list, I needed to create a list containing the exact count of each keyword.

Luckily the structure was the same for all pairs, and since it was only one token (keyword) in each pair it could be done in one loop.

An alternative way to solve this problem, could be to build a “dict” of tokens and add upp the count each new time a matching token was found.

You can see the code below.

 





How to add collapsible comment form to your wordpress blog

Works in: firefox, safari, chrome.

Possible conflicts:
Problem with WP Ajaxify Comments, which makes the page jump to the top. It also updates the top first post, which might only be a problem if you use the Auto Load Next Post plugin.

Set up

Abstract: Users expect to be able to comment on your blog posts, however, very few users choose to actually do so. The comment box takes up a lot of space. Removing the comment box is out of the question, because you want people to be able to comment. This creates a gap between expected usability and functionality, and your website’s design. Comment boxes take up a lot of screen real estate, since users need to fill in at least three fields: their name, email address and the comment itself. On top of that, there is the submit button and perhaps checkboxes for also subscribing to the blog, new comments, and perhaps even buttons to use some API’s to login via social accounts. So the comment area needs to be there just in case, but still not be in the way. This is good information architecture…

Jetpack has a nice workaround to this problem, where the box expands and buttons come into view once the user clicks inside the comment field. This is great usability, but I couldn’t get this feature to work as expected on my blog. No matter what I did (CHMOD’ing files, changing .htaccess, deactivating plugins), I would get an error once a comment was submitted that said: “You don’t have permission to access /wp-comments-post.php”.

A second problem was, that I use the Auto Load Next Post plugin to create an infinite scroll of related posts. If the comment box takes up too much space, it is difficult for the user to figure out, that new posts are featured under the post that they are reading.

A possible workaround could be to print to the screen that new posts have been loaded below, but constantly showing a message would eventually drive users nuts, and then you would have to write a script that keeps track of how many times this modal screen had appeared infront of the user, and set a cut off point, perhaps add this to a cookie for when users came back to the site. Yada-yada. The list goes on…

So I decided to just add a simple javascript toggle on/off button to open and close the collapsable element, letting users who wish to comment on my blog, be able to do so, and the 99% percent who don’t comment, aren’t bothered by the large comment box.

Tools you need:

For editing files you need notepad if you are on Windozs; or text-edit if you are on a Mac. If you are on Linux, you hopefully know what to do, right (because I don’t!). Some other decent IDE’s (fancy name for code editors) are TextWrangler, TextMate or Komodo Edit. You also need a program to transfer the files to and from your server. FileZilla comes to mind, or Transmit.

Files you need:

  • comments.php (in your theme’s folder – use your file transfer program to fetch it)
  • functions.php (in your theme’s folder – use your file transfer program to fetch it)
  • header.php (in your theme’s folder – use your file transfer program to fetch it)
  • style.css (in your theme’s folder – use your file transfer program to fetch it)
  • js.js (this file you will create and upload to you theme folder via the file transfer program)

A note about functions.php
When you update your theme, it overwrites (deletes) every file and subsequently any customisation you have made. This is slightly problematic… If you (perhaps correctly so) feel that you shouldn’t edit your theme’s functions.php file, you can either create a child theme based off your current theme and add the functions.php, style.css and js.js to the child theme folder, or you can create what is know as a Must Use plugin. It sounds more scary than it is. There are many places to read about how to create both, see references below. Another way around this is to create a file called “myNotes.html” or similar, and add it to your top folder (don’t store passwords) but use it to keep notes about things you added to your site, or install the Note Press plugin to keep notes on your site in the admin area. This is also good if you are many people running the site.

Ok, enough talk already, lets get to it.

Creating the collapsible javascript comment form for WordPress

Step 1 (comment_form())

First off, you need to make sure that you use comment_form() in your theme. You can check this in your comments.php file in your theme’s folder. The statement will look something like this
<?php comment_form(); ?>.
If you don’t see comment_form() anywhere in you comments.php file, check other files called comments something, or try to email the theme developer. As a last resource, you might want to change themes, as this is an indication of a theme that doesn’t follow current standards, and as such might have other problems.
The reason you need to make sure that your theme uses comment_form(), is that we are going to write some code that modifies it, so if it’s not there, we can’t modify it.

Step 2 (create javascript file)

Create a file called “js.js” (.js stands for javascript). You can name your javascript file anything, but just make sure, that if you name it “jeronimo”, that the file has “.js” appended as a prefix to it, so browsers know that it is a javascript file.

Step 3 (write javascript)

in your js.js file (or whatever you called it) add the following code:

Save the file and upload it to the theme folder.

This shouldn’t clash with the other functionality of your site, or with other jQuery features which many WordPress sites use. I had some trouble getting jQuery to play nice while creating this collapsible comment box, therefore the functionality is written in plain javascript. The code is from CSS Tricks.

Step 4 (add link to javascript file)

Open up your header.php and link to your javascript file. If you are unsure how to link to it from the header here is the way I do it:

this is added in the header.php in the

section just above

and make sure it is not between any

tags.

Save and upload the file to your theme folder.

Step 5 (functions.php)

Open your functions.php from your theme’s folder. If you don’t have a file called functions.php (very unlikely), create a new file and name it functions.php and add an opening and closing PHP statement as so:

Just above the closing ?> at the bottom of the file (functions.php), you add the following code. I have added comments denoted by // to explain what is going on.

Save and upload the file.

Step 6 (CSS)

If you want to go all artsy fartsy, you can add the following to your style.css

that way people can see that the button has some sort of function…

References

The javascript code:
https://css-tricks.com/snippets/javascript/showhide-element/

If you want to add the button somewhere else, you have a few options, however the setup is slightly different and you will have to find information elsewhere:
http://codex.wordpress.org/Function_Reference/comment_form
http://justintadlock.com/archives/2010/07/21/using-the-wordpress-comment-form

How to create must use (MU) plugins:
From Justin Tadlock (a very good explanation):
http://justintadlock.com/archives/2011/02/02/creating-a-custom-functions-plugin-for-end-users
From the WordPress Codex: (just scrapes the surface):
http://codex.wordpress.org/Must_Use_Plugins

Child themes
http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/child-themes-basics-and-creating-child-themes-in-wordpress–wp-27475
http://codex.wordpress.org/Child_Themes

Jetpack related posts and qTranslate-X fix

Problem:
I had some trouble getting Jetpack’s Related Posts to play nice with qTranslate-X. The issue I had, was that Jetpacks Related Posts did not translate the post’s headlines and link title tags, and since this site is mulitlingual and most of the articles are both in Danish and English, this is a big problem.

 Obviously with the many settings in the WordPress eco system, the fault could lie elsewhere, however a lot of switching off of plugins and settings, clearing caches and looking under the hood etc., led me to believe, that the fault is with Jetpack. The fix is pretty simple, except it will be overridden next time I update the plugin, so I have notified the developers of Jetpack.

In line 3, in the code snippet below, the original code is

which means that the posts title is returned to the system and stripped of all HTML tags (syntax). The title is however not internationalised, in the sense that the system doesn’t account for any translations of the post title string.

The solution
The solution is to add __() around the $post_title so the line becomes

The place to make changes is: wp-content/plugins/jetpack/modules/related-posts/jetpack-related-posts.php on line 697 (in version: 20150408 of the plugin)

{ IPTC:Headline | }

A look at two CMS – SilverStripe and Joomla

 Joomla vs silverstripe CMS

SilverStripe: Easy to get a site up and running with a minimum of fuss. Easy to edit content. Changes to menus and navigation is limited, but would work well for minor sites. For larger sites a web developer would have to be hired.
Joomla: very easy to setup and tweek. Most users would find the basic features easy to use. For more advanced features a web developer should be hired.

SilverStripe vs. Joomla

Here is a look at SilverStripe and Joomla.

Target audiences

  SilverStripe Joomla
Target group Beginners and experienced web designers Beginners and experienced web designers
Usage Mostly small-size websites Small and large websites
Typical users Professional and personal http://www.silverstripe.org/comm unity-showcase/ Professional and personal sites. http://community.joomla.org/showcase/

Cost of Operation


  SilverStripe Joomla
CMS Free (Open Source) Free (Open Source)
Themes Unknown Free and Commercial
Modules/Plugins/ Add ons Few but free add ons/modules/themes  

System Requirements & Hosting Environment?

Apache, MySQL and PHP SilverStripe Joomla
Linux AMP Yes Yes
Windows AMP Yes Yes
Mac AMP Yes Yes
X AMP Unknown Yes – but not for live sites
  http://www.silverstripe.org/system-requirements/ http://www.joomla.org/technical-requirements.html

Documentation of SilverStripe and Joomla

SilverStripe Joomla
Pretty straightforward installation. Kind of like WordPress “Famous Five Minute Install”.
Also lots of documentation on http://doc.silverstripe.org – A few dead links
Yes. Plenty on the Joomla site. It is set up as a wiki. There is also a forum.

Content publishing and workflow

  SilverStripe Joomla
How is content published Through a standard WYSIWYG editor. Pages are easily created and can be moved around in the site-tree by drag and drop. Through a standard WYSIWYG editor. Although there is (to me) some confusion as to where content gets placed. There are so many features in Joomla that production of content is almost drowned out.
Workflow Very straightforward workflow with logical constraints. Feels like a steep learning curve because of the many options and supposedly necessary steps before content can be published..

The SilverStripe Navigation/Site-tree

The SilverStripe Navigation/Site-tree.

Publishing Areas of SiverStripe and Joomla

SilverStripe Publishing area

SilverStripe Publishing area.

Joomla publishing area

Joomla publishing area.

User roles and rights

  SilverStripe Joomla
User Roles Admin can create unlimited groups and roles Ten levels from SuperUser to Public. New groups and user levels can be created.
User Rights On/off switches for admin section, modules admin, site content, role management. Very granular permission system. Each user is supplied with a role that matches his function. e.i. editor, author, registered user, Shop owner.

Public Theme vs. Admin Theme

SilverStripe Joomla
Public and admin theme design is very basic out of the box, but the public theme can be modified. Public theme is very advanced out of the box. It can be modified. Admin theme seems very cluttered and but could be a matter of getting used too.

Content: SilverStripe and Joomla

Organisation of content in SilverStripe and Joomla

SilverStripe Joomla
A curious feature of SilverStripe is how it deals with nested pages. A sub-page of a page is added to a sidebar on the “top” page. It is in many ways logical to forcefully add local navigation for the user, although it would be nice with an option to include it in a dropdown of the main navigation. If a page is a “top”-page it will be featured in the main menu unless unchecked. It uses automatically generated, but editable, pretty- permalinks. Joomla gives the content creator great control over how to structure the site’s content. Either by categories or by ordering of the prioritised order (set by user), publishing date, language, hits and who created the content.
Menus can be authored to a very granular level.

How do SilverStripe and Joomla handle images, text and video?

  SilverStripe Joomla
Text WYSIWYG editor only WYSIWYG editor with the option to turn it off. Different levels of sanitising content depending on user role.
Image Media library where you can upload images (one at a time). When you click to insert images in a page, images from the library appear alongside the option to upload images. Images can be upload to a media library
Video Could not get it to work Could not get it to work

Search

SilverStripe Joomla
Silverstripe has something called search in the admin area, but I was unable to insert a search box on the site. Joomla searches text, titles and metadata if there is any. There is automatically a search box inserted on the standard theme.

How is the presentation layer controlled?

SilverStripe Joomla
SilverStripes templates can be transformed to your hearts content. The template syntax is a string process language. See illustration below. Template Design in Joomla is a mix of PHP, XML, HTML templates and tweeks to modules in the admin section. It comes of as being overly complicated.

SilverStripes template syntax

SilverStripes template syntax.

SilverStripe vs. Joomla

What is each CMS good at?

SilverStripe Joomla
SilverStripe is ideal for websites that need to built very fast and don’t need updating too often. Although it has a framwork feel to it, like Drupal, it feels like Drupal without the huff and puff. I’d imagine that if the content is of static nature, many of the sites being built using WordPress or Drupal could be made using SilverStripe. Joomla makes for good use regarding small or big websites. The main focus seems to be on larger sites that need lots of functions and it would perhaps be overkill to use Joomla for smaller- sized sites with static content. The possibilities seem endless.

Aimed at beginners or experts?

  SilverStripe Joomla
Beginners Yes Yes
Experts Yes Yes

System User Interface

SilverStripe Joomla
Pretty basic and crude design of the admin area, but it works and is easy to navigate. Many options of which almost all can be reached via the top menu in the admin section. As pointed out before, Joomla can be finetuned, but it is not always clear what functions do and where they are controlled.

Do SilverStripe and Joomla do what is says on the box?

SilverStripe Joomla
Easy to get a site up and running with a minimum of fuss. Easy to edit content. Changes to menus and navigation is limited, but would work well for minor sites. For larger sites a web developer would have to be hired. I installed the CMS via Joomla’s cloudservice which allows for 30 days free hosting with the option to export the setup and go elsewhere afterwards, or stay on and pay a hosting fee.
It seems very easy to setup and tweek and I’m sure most users would find the basic features easy to use. For more advanced features a web developer should be hired.

Dorthe_Facebook_Invites

How to invite friends to your facebook page

Problem: Inviting your friends to ‘like’ your facebook page.

Solution


Log in to your facebook page.

Click Suggest to friends

and now you get to select people. BUT… you can’t choose people with a kind of grayed out profile image. There can be several reasons for this. Maybe they already have liked your page or perhaps they have settings that prevent others from inviting them to like pages.

Those with a green circle can be invited. Those with red cannot.

N.B. I have blurred the names.

{ IPTC:Headline | }

Photoshelters sucky hotlinking prevention

This is neither a WordPress or Facebook fault but purely a very clumsy solution implemented by Photoshelter. In your Photoshelter admin you can choose a “security” precaution preventing people from hotlinking your images. “That’s a great feature!” I hear you say. Well. Yes and no. The idea is great and technicly old hat. Been around for a long time. But the way Photoshelter uses it sucks.

When someone hotlinks your images they use your image on their site. Often without permission and they also steal your bandwidth. To prevent this you can create a mod_rewrite.

How mod_rewrite works

Here is a simplified idea of how a mod_rewrite works: If our-website.com asks for a file hosted on our-website.com’s filesystem please go ahead and serve that file to the end user, but if not-our-website.com (or any other website) asks for a file belonging to our file system (our-website.com) please don’t serve that file.

On top of this you can make a set of conditions. If our-website.com or facebook.com or myspace.com or blogger.com or mydadswebsite.com ask for a file show it. Else don’t show anything.

The problem is Photoshelter

Photoshelter won’t let you set these parameters nor have they made their own safelist of the most common websites where users share photos. It takes only a few minutes of coding to solve it and I can not for the life of me understand that a large web-corporation has chosen the suckiest solution.

[bctt tweet=”How can a large web-corporation chose the suckiest solution. #photoshelter “]

Another solution could be to make to folders. One closed off with a mod_rewrite and one open. The closed one stores the large images and the open folder stores a smaller version for social media sites.

The solution

But for now the only solution is to turn off the “feature” at Photoshelter.

You can read more about hotlinking and mod_rewrite at:

http://www.alistapart.com/articles/hotlinking/

http://perishablepress.com/press/2007/11/21/creating-the-ultimate-htaccess-anti-hotlinking-strategy/

Tine_redirection_navigation

Pretty permalinks on a windows hosted site

It took me a while to figure out why her site wouldn’t create propper pretty permalinks. But then I realised that her site is hosted on a windoze server.

I found the answer here: http://codex.wordpress.org/Using_Permalinks#Permalinks_without_mod_rewrite

Before even thinking of changing the permelink structure I installed a plugin which is on my own top ten list. Redirection. It is a very powerfull plugin which can “move” your pages and create all sort of 301 and 310’s but it will also work nicely as a set it and forget it plugin.

The reason I install it is to catch any incoming links to Tine’s old pages. When http://blog.fotoco.dk/blog/?p=73 is changed to http://blog.fotoco.dk/blog/title-of-page then http://blog.fotoco.dk/blog/?p=73 will no longer excist. Both readers following the link and google aren’t too happy about that.

This is where Redirection has it’s force. If I check the correct boxes it will automagicly create the redirection for me. Easy, saves time and no need to fiddle with the .htaccess file.

How to install Redirection

Install via WordPress admin og go to Redirection’s own page at WordPress and get the .zip file.

Once installed go to Tools -> Redirection

Go to Redirection -> Options

and check the box “Monitor new posts” in the URL monitoring section (and choose Modified posts if it isn’t already choosen.)

Alright. Back to changing that permalink structure without old pages dying on us.

/index.php/%year%/%post-name/

Lifebelt_053_600

How to draw a life belt in Photoshop

As with all things PhotoShop there are many ways to achieve the same result.

One of the “newer” features of PhotoShop is working non-destructively. This means not having to start over every time you need to make changes or the need to keep zillions of copies of the same file. How? Well, you manipulate the original image using layers and vector masks which in turn can be turn on or off, moved around and changed after being applied. All in the same .psd or .tif file. Neat huh?

We will also be taking a look at layer styles, vector masks, cirkular text, custom contour and a few other things

I should mention that this tutorial is for Mac, but I’m sure most commands will be almost the same on a PC. If not, try and experiment.

Aprx time: ten minutes.

Here we go.

Create a new document (CMD+N).

Make it biggish and make sure it is sqaure with a transparent background. For this excersize I’ve made a 1200 x 1200 pixel document.

Next save the dacument as a .psd file.

Now press CMD+R to fetch them old rulers if they aren’t visible now.

Mousedown on the rulers to your left and pull towards the centre. Notice how a line magickly appears. So hold down the mouse and pull towards the dead centre of your transparent document. In my case it’s 1200 divided by two equals, that’s right, 600.

Repeat but this time pull from the top and down to 600 pixel vertical.

Continue to do this untill you have blue lines at 100, 400, 800 and 1100. Vertical and horizontaly

A WHITE CIRCLE

DID YOU KNOW You can switch between your sub-tools by holding down SHIFT and pressing the allocated key

Choose Circular Marque Tool or press ‘m’

Click in the centre of the image where the lines meet and hold SHIFT+ALT down at the same time. Drag outwards until you reach the outer most blue lines.

Choose Paint Bucket or press “g”. Make the foregroundcolour white. Click inside the circle.

Now choose the margue tool again and click outside the circle to deselect.

THE ORANGE SQUARES

DID YOU KNOW You can hide the guides by pressing CMD+H

Now it’s time to meet a close relative of the circular marque tool, the Rektangular Marque Tool. Press SHIFT+M until you have selected the retangular marque tool.

Pull from the centre of the image upwards to your right.

Once more drag from the centre, but this time, hold down SHIFT (a small plus sign appears next to the crosshair) and pull downwards to your left.

Select foreground colour. In my case it’s orange #FF5500.

Choose paint bucket or press “g” and click inside the marques you made.

Now choose the margue tool again and click outside the circle to deselect.

THE WHOLE HOLE


Choose vector mask to get a white box to appear next to the image in your layers palette.

Choose circular marque tool and drag from the centre outwards to about one third of the image.

Make sure you have selected white and black as your foreground and background colours. Black being the background colour. Or press CMD+D

Hit CMD+BACKSPACE (the delete button with the arrow pointing left right above the return-key)

And voila. You’ve knocked a whole through it. You haven’t removed anything, you’ve just masked with black what we don’t want to see. Notice the black circle on your layer mask.


PUMP UP THE VOLUME

I’m not talking about loud music, but volumetrix. We need to inflate the lifebelt and what better way than layer styles. Lets give it some shadows, pomp and circumstance.

Drop Shadow – Ads a little shadow to make it look like it is hovering and ads volume.

Inner Shadow – Now we’re talking. Notice the shadow on the inside, but that they don’t go all the way out to the edge. That’s a custom contour homebrew.

Inner Glow – A little edge highlight.

Bevel & Emboss – Removes some of the sharp edge.

Pattern Overlay – Some strukture ads a little imperfektion.

TIME FOR THE TEXT

We want the text to appear inside the lifebelt so on we go and choose the ellipse tool or press “u”.

Pull a circle from the centre and out to just a tad further than the four inner rektangles.

If you want the circle to become smaller og larger press CMD+T and pull out or inwards by pulling the corners while holding down SHIT+ALT.

Select the text tool or press “t” and place the marker at the 12.01 o’clock position.

The marker will change from being surrounded by a “box” to having a “tilde” through it.

Now we can write: wordpress photoshop photography webdesign. I’ll fiddle with the letters a bit to make it symmetric.

You will probably get a different result depending on font-face, distance between chars among other things.

Lets remove the circle by clicking the eye next to the layer (not your own eye okay)

It looks like the word “photography” takes up to much space. Let’s fix it by decreasing the distance between the letters.

Here I change the text

It’s still a bit cramped, so I’ll increase the circles radius by selecting the text layer.

Press CMD+T hold down SHIFT+ALT and pull one of the corners. Again the text needs some ironing out.


Almost finished. I’ll give the letters a little depth. Select the layer with text (not the text itself) and click Fx (Layer styles).

OK. Lets see it without the guidelines (CMD+H)

Perfect. Well done.

And notice how few layers it takes

STILL NOT HAPPY?

So you wanna make changes, huh? Perhaps you feel the inner circle is a bit small. I certainly couldn’t fit inside it. No problem. We’ll just adjust our layer mask.

Set the background to black.

Click the white square next to lift belt in the layers palette to highlight it.

Press CMD+T and hold done SHIFT+ALT and pull one of the corners.

Ta-da. The lifebelt has a bigger whole hole.

Want to make it smaller?

Set the background colour to white. Click the layer mask as above.

Press CMD (a little square will appear) and click the layer mask again. You’ve now selected the white that surrounds the black dot.

Press CMD+T and simultaneously hold down SHIFT+ALT and drag one of the corners towards the centre.

As you’ve probably noticed with the layer mask, anything that is black disappears. You can draw or make crazy selections using black on your layer mask and it will appear immediately.

That is one of the true benefits of working non-destructively with images in PhotoShop. Just remember to save as .psd or .tif and you can always return an make edits to your layer, layer masks and layer styles.

Here are two more examples:

lifebelt

WTF just happened – get help with WordPress, Photoshop and photography – #1

WTF is happening?

WordPress, Photoshop, Webdesign, Photography LifebeltIs your wordpress acting up or cracking at the seems? Photoshop giving you a hard time or maybe you just lost your photo-mojo?

Take a deep breath and don’t fret. Uncle Bob Miklas – the king of wordpress, the web and all things photography – is here to help!

Jack of all trades
As a freelancer you quickly learn to hack most things yourself. You can’t just pick up the phone and call X-department to get help. So over the years you accumulate a very large and wide amount of knowledge and this knowledge I’d like to share with you.

Daily I get questions about photography and webdesign. Instead of these answers only reaching a few people I’ve decided to open the floodgates and let you guys ask questions which I in turn will answer in blogpost the following week.

This being the first time we’ll just have to see what happens. If you are asking questions about your photographs you will have to let me use them here on the site to illustrate the solution to your problem.

Go on, hit me with your best shot
Get your long list of WordPress woes. Maybe you’re lost in Photoshops many options. Or maybe you need a quick kick to the groin to get you going down the right photographic path again?

The only thing I ask in return is a little linklove, a link from your site to mine or better yet a blogpost about how cool it was of me to save your butt.

Describe the problem thoroughly
What is it you want to achieve?
What is it you don’t understand?
What have you tried?
What is it that doesn’t work?
Link to your website or images.
A valid email address so I can contact you.
Name of the plugin/theme.
Version of WordPress/Photoshop you are using.

Use the commentfield below to ask any question about:
WordPress
Webdesign
Photoshop
Photography
(Not camera-brand specific stuff)

And I’ll follow up with blogpost about your problem next week.

You’re welcome.

njor_facebook_css_04

How to Pimp your Facebook Fanbox Facepile and Pagestream


Here is a tutorial on how to use CSS to style your Facebook fanbox (facepile/likebox) and pagestream.

Below the large image further down you will find a detailed description of how I rolled my own css blend to integrate Facebook with my site without loosing my overall graphical identity. Tested in Safari and Firefox.

Facebook ships its social plugins with their own css. This gives a uniform look to all of Facebooks widgets and tells a users that they are interacting with Facebook.

Keep that in mind when you dress up you box so your readers feel “safe”.

I will be covering how to “install” your own css to override the facebook-style and how to style most of the elements inside the box.

Customizing facebooks custom css

If you use the wordpress plugin Simple Facebook Connect you enter your CSS code via SFC’s admin page. There is a big box called “Fanbox Custom CSS”.

On the other hand if you use a stand alone social plugin picked up from the Facebook site here is an explanation of the code. You could of course just link to your site’s css file but since facebook uses it’s own style names a better choice is to create your own and save it on your site. Perhaps in your themefolder for easier maintenance.

XFBML

If you are using the XFBML version you can insert a direct link (http://example.com/facestylesheet.css) to your css anywhere before

"></fb:like-box>

Here is an example:
css="http://example.com/facestylesheet.css?1"></fb:like-box>

If you use wordpress and save the css file to your themefolder you can write:

css="<?php get_bloginfo('stylesheet_directory'):?>/facestylesheet.css?1"

notice the ?1. That refers to the cached version of your stylesheet. It is important to change the number in the XFBML code every time you make changes (and not include ?1 in the css filename, mmmmkay) so facebook knows which version of the css you are referring to.

iframe

The iframe looks a bit more complicated but is easy enough. At the end of the long line

src="http://www.facebook.com/plugins/likebox.php?href=[...]Miklas-Njor-Fotografi%2F1 92308877480168&amp;[...]height=427 YOUR CODE HERE "

you add the link to your css file before the .

src="http://www.facebook.com/plugins/likebox.php?href=[...]Miklas-Njor-Fotografi%2F1 92308877480168&amp;[...]height=427&amp;css=http%3A%2F%2Fmiklasnjor.com%2F%3Fsfc-fanbox-css%3D1"

Remember to substitute the ASCII characters:

…css=http://miklas… => …css=http%3A%2F%2Fmiklas…
…njor.com/?sfc-fanbox-… => …njor.com%2F%3Fsfc-fanbox-…
…css=1 => …css%3D1

The iframe version doesn’t use ?1 but =1, so remember to change = with %3D (%3D1)

The end result will look something like this:

iframe src="http://www.facebook.com/plugins/likebox.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww. facebook.com%2Fpages%2FMiklas-Njor-Fotografi%2F192308877480168&amp;width=292&amp; colorscheme=light&amp;show_faces=true&amp;stream=true&amp;header=true&amp;height= 427&amp;css=http%3A%2F%2Fmiklasnjor.com%2F%3Fsfc-fanbox-css%3D1" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="border:none; overflow:hidden; width:292px; height:427px;" allowTransparency="true"

Okay. Now that the installation is out of the way. Lets get creative and style the box.

Detailed descriptions

Below the image I’ve written how I style my facebook fanbox.
how to css style facebook facebox facepile and pagestream

1 – The entire box


NOTE: This is the box itself. I’ve chosen to give it an orange border.
As a precaution I’ve included the a:link etc to make sure all links get styled as I want. Later we can change the styling of the links since the css for those items is loader later and therefore take precedence.

.fan_box .full_widget {border: 1px solid #F50;}
.fan_box .full_widget a:link {color: #F50;}
.fan_box .full_widget a:hover {color: #000;}
.fan_box .full_widget a:visited {color: #F50;}
.fan_box .full_widget a:active {color: #F50;}

2 – Connect header

.fan_box .full_widget .connect_widget_facebook_logo_menubar {background: #F50; border: 0;}

2A – Connect header facebook image

.fan_box .full_widget .connect_widget_facebook_logo span {background:transparent url(http://website/themfolder/img/facebook_link.gif) no-repeat ; display:block; height:17px; width:90px}
.fan_box .full_widget .connect_widget_facebook_logo:hover span {background-position:left -17px}

NOTE: I didn’t like the way how the blue edge around the facebook looked, so I downloaded it and gave it a new colour. The link might change but I got the image from here.

3 – Connect top

.fan_box .full_widget .connect_top {background: #fdd5c1; border-bottom: 1px solid #F50;}

3A – Connect top image

.fan_box .full_widget .connect_top img {padding: 0; margin: 0 1em 0 0; border: 1px solid #F50;}

3B – Connect top – Name (Miklas Njor Fotografi)

.fan_box .full_widget .connect_top .name_block {color: #F50;}
.fan_box .full_widget .connect_top .name_block a:link {color: #F50;}
.fan_box .full_widget .connect_top .name_block span.name a:link {color: #F50;}
.fan_box .full_widget .connect_top .name_block:link {color: #F50;}
.fan_box .full_widget .connect_top .name_block span.name:link {color: #F50;}

3C – Connect top The Like Button

.fan_box .full_widget .connect_widget_like_button {border: 1px solid #F50; background: #f0f0f0;}
.fan_box .full_widget .connect_widget_like_button span {color: #f50;}
.fan_box .full_widget .connect_widget_like_button:hover {border: 1px solid #F50; background: #F50; color:#FFF;}
.fan_box .full_widget .connect_widget_like_button:hover span { color:#FFF;}
.fan_box .full_widget .connect_widget_facebook_favicon {background: url(http://website/themfolder/img/facebook_thumbsup.gif) no-repeat -1px -47px transparent;display:block;height:14px;padding:0 0 0 0;width:14px;position:absolute;left:-1px}
.fan_box .full_widget .connect_widget_like_button .liketext {background:url(http://website/themfolder/img/facebook_thumbsup.gif) -1px -33px no-repeat}

NOTE: Same as above I downloaded the image and changed it. I got it from here

4 – Pagestream – all stories

.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream {background-color: #f0f0f0; color: #222;}
.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream a:link {color: #F50;}
.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream a:hover {color: #000;}
.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream a:visited {color: #F50;}
.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream a:active {color: #F50;}

4A – Pagestream – single story

.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream .UIStory {background: #fff; padding: 6px; margin: 5px 0;}

4B – User link – Miklas Njor Fotografi

.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream span.UIIntentionalStory_Names {margin: 0 0.5em 0 0;}
.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream span.UIIntentionalStory_Names a:link {color:#222;}
.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream .UIIntentionalStory_Names {color:#222;}
.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream .UIIntentionalStory_Names a:link {color:#222;}
.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream .UIIntentionalStory_Names a:hover {color:#222;}
.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream .UIIntentionalStory_Names a:visited {color:#222;}
.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream .UIIntentionalStory_Names a:active {color:#222;}

4C – ‘Det er bare så fedt at han svæver’

.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream span.UIStory_Message {color:#222;}
.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream .UIStory_Message a:link {color:#222;}
.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream .UIStory_Message:before {content:”\0022″; }
.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream .UIStory_Message:after {content:”\0022″;}

NOTE: I am using the pseudo css styles :before and :after to insert the character before and after the text. You can use any character from this list of HTML entities. You can also use images. The pseudo classes don’t work in IE6 and IE7.

4D – Post Images

.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream .UIStory img {border: 1px solid #F50;}

4E – Post title – Kim Rahbek Svæver – Direktør Sticks n Sushi

.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream .UIStoryAttachment_Title {color: #F50;}
.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream .UIStoryAttachment_Title a:link {color: #F50;}
.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream .UIStoryAttachment_Title a:hover {color: #F50;}
.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream .UIStoryAttachment_Title a:visited {color: #F50;}
.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream .UIStoryAttachment_Title a:active {color: #F50;}

4F – Websitelink – miklasnjor.com

.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream .UIStoryAttachment_Caption {color:#666;}

4G – Bodycopy – Direktør for Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, Kim Rahbek Hansen, drikker…

.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream .UIStoryAttachment_Copy {color: #222;}

4H – Pagestream – borderbottom

.fan_box .full_widget .page_stream {border-bottom: 1px solid #F50; }

5 – Facepile

.fan_box .full_widget .connections {background-color: #f0f0f0;}

5A – Facepile text – x people like Miklas Njor Fotografi

.fan_box .full_widget .connections .connections_grid {margin-top: 0.8em;}

5B – Facepile – Facesgrid

.fan_box .full_widget .connections .connections_grid .grid_item {margin-right: 0.65em; color:#F50;}
.fan_box .full_widget .connections .connections_grid .grid_item a {color:#F50;}

That’s it – stop editing :)

There are plenty more items to style, but these I believe to be the most important. If you want to find more details about each element I recommend installing Firebug for Firefox.

konto-prefs_250

Run several Skype accounts simultaneously on Mac

How to run more than one version of Skype simultaneously.

Tested on OS X 10.5 Leopard PPC (should also work under OS X 10.4 Tiger and OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard (PPC and Intel))


Problem:

You have several Skype accounts and want to simultaneously call from and accept calls to these different Skypeusers.


Solution (short version):

Set up an extra account on your mac. Get a copy of Peek-O-Matic


Tools:

Systempreferences, Skype (more than one account), Peek-O-Matic (freeware).


Solution (long version:


1. Open Systempreferences.

2. Choose accounts.

3. Set up a new account. This will be used to run your extra Skypeaccount.

If your want to use two skypeaccounts, set up one extra user account for your mac (ex: skypeuser2). If your want to run three Skypeaccounts simultaneously, set up two extra user accounts (ex: skypeuser1 and skypeuser2)

4. Regarding user account name make sure to give it a name that reflects its a skypeaccount user.

4a. Name: ex: skypeaccount 2

4b. shortname: skypeaccount2 (name without spaces)

4c. Password: Make it easy to remember. For security reasons you should never save your user keywords in your keychain.

5. Go to Andreas Schuderer’s site http://www.schuderer.net/scripts.shtml and get a copy of Peek-O-Matic. It’s the second app from the top. Click the blue arrow to download the programme.

5a. It’s an appelscript that will run applikations as another user on the same computer without actually having to switch user.

5b. If you only have one extra Skypeaccount you only need to get one copy of the script. If you have more than one extra Skypeaccount get as many copies as you have extra accounts. To get more than one copy simply click the blue arrow several times. Your mac will automaticly rename/append new number to the download. I have three Skypaccounts so I downloaded two copies of Peek-O-Matic.

6. Move Peek-O-Matic from where you downloaded it too and onto your applikation folder.

7. Find Skype, place the mouse cursor above it, push down and hold, drag and drop the Skype icon onto Peek-O-Matic and let go of the mouse.

8. Click twice on Peek-O-Matic and choose the new user account you just created. Click OK.

8a. After which you choose “Ask on Launch”. It will ask for the new user account password each time. Better security.

8b. A new box dialog window appears. Read and click “Quit”. The application closes automaticly.

8c. If you have more than one account repeat steps 1 through 8 but with a new user account for each extra Skypeaccount you have. If you accidently throw the wrong programmes on top of Peek-O-Matic you can always start over ny dragging Skype on top.. There is no need to download new copies of the app.


How to fire up all accounts.


9. First you need to start the “original” version of Skype. This is important because once the “clones” are running you wont be able to launch the “original”.

10. When the “original” is running click twice on Peek-O-Matic in your app folder. It will ask you your new user account password.

Fill out the field and click OK. Skype will start to launch and you log in to Skype as you would do normally. That’s it. You should be up and running. If you have more than one extra Skypeaccount just activate the other Peek-O-Matics you’ve created.


Extras:

If you find it difficult to keep track of which Peek-O-Matic is which, you can replace the Peek-O-Matic icon with the Skype icon or even better create your own in Photoshop.

To replace icons. Choose Skype app. in the app.folder. Select show info “Apple (cmd) + i” (simultaneously) and a box appears.

Do the same with Peek-O-Matic. Click the small Skype logo at the top. Press “Apple (cmd) + C” (simultaneously).

Now in Peek-O-Matic info dialogue click the Peek-O-Matic icon and press “Apple (cmd) + V” (simultaneously). Ta-da. You have a new icon.

I have my Peek-O-Matic applescripts in the dock.

The forgotton photographer interviews

These 25 questions to Erik Luntang-Jensen, Jørn Stjerneklar, Nina Mouritzen, Jacob Langvad and Poul Madsen about what is it like, as a photographer, to set up shop somewhere in the world and live there, these interviews were originally made in the autumn of 2009, but just as I had put them on the server, the server crashed. It took a long time to clean up and I forgot all about the work until the other day – six years later – in which the articles appeared during a cleanup of a hard drive. So, without further ado…

Where is it you are?

Erik Luntang-Jensen: Brussels

Jørn Stjerneklar: I live in Hout Bay, just south of Cape Town, South Africa.

Nina Mouritzen: New York, New York.

Jacob Langvad: Sao Paulo, Brazil

Poul Madsen: I was an intern at the newspaper The Indian Express in Mumbai, India. It was a local edition of a national newspaper.

Why did you choose that place?

Erik Luntang-Jensen: A coincidence. The goal was actually somewhere in the Middle East. In my internship at Polfoto I drove around on Funen and parts of Jutland, where I among other things covered the debate meetings about the upcoming vote on the Maastricht Treaty. It was while I was studying Middle East studies at the University of Odense, in order to go there as a press photographer.
But as it was with me and sports, that have no personal interest, I’d throw the sports supplement out, but the same day I photographed the first first league game I started reading it every day, and finished reading about it when I had photographed my last game.
The same was the case with the articles about the EU, you can not cover the debates about the EU, without knowing what it is about and it struck me that the illustrations newspapers used most frequently were photos of EC buildings. It had to be a better way, I thought.
Colleagues thought it was a crazy idea, unlike the editors and writers. One word led to another and the decision was taken.

Jørn Stjerneklar: I’ve been around many countries, Namibia, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, the United States before I ended up down here.

Nina Mouritzen: I always wanted to stay here since I was a child. So it was natural to move here, the moment it could be done. The moment came a few months after my 19 birthday and a mediocre high school exam!

Jacob Langvad: One of my Brazilian friends and former fellow student was a partner in a company that stood to open a new design studio and he invited me over to become part of it.

Poul Madsen: I chose the place because there were some Danish journalism students who had had an internship at the newspaper. Furthermore, I perceived it as being one of the more serious newspapers in India – in other words, a newspaper where the main focus was not directed at recent Bollywood gossip.

How long have you been away?

Erik Luntang-Jensen: too long. Three times since I a few days after finishing as pressphotographer in 1992. I founded Nordfotos editorial office in Brussels and Berlingske Tidende and BT moved into the same building. Closed again in August 1999, leaving my Finnish colleague as the last Nordic press photographer. Moved to Denmark, but back to Brussels again the third time a few years later.

Jørn Stjerneklar: 20 years

Nina Mouritzen: 10 years. (Sept. 1999)

Jacob Langvad: I have lived in São Paulo for most of the last three years.

Poul Madsen: I was off for 6 months, but were not working very much for the newspaper. They did not have so many tasks for me, instead I used the time on my own projects and to make freelance work danish clients.

How long do you expect to be away for?

Erik Luntang-Jensen: Hard to say with two children who have French as their main language and a wife who gets claustrophobia in Denmark and for that matter in Finland, where she grew up as a German citizen.

Jørn Stjerneklar: Forever

Nina Mouritzen: As long as I love being here.

Jacob Langvad: I’m still in love with the city and the country. I’m in no hurry to move on. Over the coming years there will be very much traveling and I will help to start another new office up in New York. But my base remains in São Paulo.

Poul Madsen: I was expecting to be here the six months. I had suffered a photo crisis before I left, but I found myself again during my 6 months in India.

Tell us about the time before you left. Were you nervous? Had you made agreements on housing, jobs, clients?

Erik Luntang-Jensen: Nervous, no way. Got a colleague to drive me to Brussels immediately after we had finished our training. The car was sold and it was its last trip with me. Besides the two of us, it was filled up with a Jobo developing machines that had been Polfotos for the World Cup in Mexico, an old stationary telephoto transmitter which had been with Polfoto editorial office for decades and spat images to the provincial newspapers. While I was a student there, it was replaced with a Hasselblad. Then there were films, chemicals, my old enlarger, Nikon photographic equipment and then there was a little room left over for a small bag with some underwear, a toothbrush and no money.
I got office with two telephone lines provided by a British journalist with the message that I had to pay my phone expenses which is why I just called collect, and that I could pay full rent when I could afford it. It took six months before I could pay rent. In the same office, there were three other Danish freelance journalists.

One of the journalists and his Swedish wife let me stay for free in their basement room, where there was a wooden bed and a garden chair of plastic.
The only agreement I had with customers was that I was allowed to work for both Polfoto and Nordfoto and their respective customers. But the images couldn’t not be the same. It was a deal that also continued when I was a permanent employee at Nordfoto’s editorial office here in Brussels.

Jørn Stjerneklar: My (our’s is more accurate, my wife who is a journalist and I) stated from the beginning: It can only go wrong! We had a return ticket to Copenhagen with us in our pocket. And then we took it from there. We were not nervous, it was an adventure. How hard can it be? We had absolutely no agreements that could give us a guaranteed monetary basis. The first three years were taken in stages, ie six months and then back to DK for a while. And then off again. Until we in the beginning of 1992, deregistered from the population register and flew away with about 30,000 kroner in savings, no housing, no deal, but plenty of grit. Since then we have not looked back.

Nina Mouritzen: When you are 19 you are not nervous, and I certainly was not. There was of course absolutely no reason why it should not succeed, because it was what I wanted. Nope, no agreements on jobs …… Had an agreement to stay a few night at a peripheral friend the day I landed, but nothing otherwise.

Jacob Langvad: I was in Copenhagen. I was restless and full of wanderlust. I had found a small apartment in the city center, off craigslist, where I lived the first few months. The city’s old center is reasonable smashed and a little ‘rough’ – but it has its charms. My apartment was on the top floor with panoramic windows and views of the asphalt jungle. Very fascinating when you come from a small town like Copenhagen.

Poul Madsen: I was not nervous. Probably more excited! Because I had never been to India before and had heard all these terrible stories about how terrible a country is is, with dirt and poverty everywhere. I was pleased to get going and to get far away from the Danish local journalism that I had committed in my first year of internship in Funen. My girlfriend was also down there working as a doctor at a local NGO that took care of children in the slums, so it helped tremendously that my better half to part of the adventures. We sublet our apartment and packed a backpack, and then we were totally ready to try something new. It was a great time and I got a unique insight of India and Indian culture. I love the country so much and I will always come back. We rented an apartment in Mumbai from a former team of writers trainees from DJH. It was perfect.

Have you lived and worked elsewhere in the world?

Erik Luntang-Jensen: Stayed and worked a half years at a large farm in England after finishing primary school. Were first trained to be a farmer and then worked as a reporter on some agricultural newspapers before I had a year as a freelance photographer before I started training as a pressphotographer.

Jørn Stjerneklar: See above

Nina Mouritzen: Work yes. Lived no.

Jacob Langvad: I have lived in Treviso (Italy), London, Paris and New York.

Poul Madsen: I have not worked as a photographer based in other countries, but I myself grew up in Belgium and have also lived in the United States.

Why move abroad?

Erik Luntang-Jensen: I do not know. Perhaps because people are too narrow-minded at home. My grandfather moved from my native island Fyn for the same reason.

Jørn Stjerneklar: First of all curiosity. I have traveled since I was very young and know that there’s a big world out there. Denmark is fine, but not the only place here on earth, if I may say so diplomatically.

Nina Mouritzen: I think that is very individual. I could not imagine being in Denmark, combined with an ever-existing desire to stay in New York, so it felt like the most natural thing in the world to do.

Jacob Langvad: Thrill, restlessness, wanderlust.

Poul Madsen: You take off to test your self, to gain insight into a different culture and to evolve as a photographer. It was certainly some of my considerations before I left and they were met in full.

Does it live up to the dreams?

Erik Luntang-Jensen: It was not a dream. It was a project that should be tested. Virtually all the colleagues who I asked did not think there was any future in Brussels. The editors on the other hand, where very positive. The idea of ​​the Middle East was dropped because I eventually talked to so many people about Brussels that there was only one thing to do and that was to do it. The fact that I have left the city twice and come to the three times is another matter.

Jørn Stjerneklar: After 20 years, it is not difficult to live your dreams.

Nina Mouritzen: Everyone’s dreams are different, but I feel mine every day.

Jacob Langvad: Definitely. Well, it depends on what dreams you have. No matter how exotic a place you go, there comes a time where ‘everyday’ occurs. There is a big difference between visiting an exciting city as a tourist over a short period, and then to stay there. I eventually had to admit that all sites have advantages and disadvantages. What is important is where you have good personal relationships, meaningful work or where you feel right.

Poul Madsen: 100% – ie internship was not particularly good, but I got some close friends there, people that I still have contact with and visit. In addition, it was an enormous challenge to be a photographer in a country where you are “on”. One should remember that although India is a huge country with well over a billion inhabitants, “white skin” is still something that attracts attention. Even in mega cities like Mumbai. I felt like a much richer person when I got home. My internship in India was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Tell us about your career. Which highlights have there been?

Erik Luntang-Jensen: Highlights?
Admission to Pressefotograf studies after PF in a year breathed me strongly in the neck while I did disorganized worked freelance for BT, Landsbladet and Det Fri Aktuelt.
When I was to audition at the School of Journalism in Odense, I actually had no time for it. There were several days when a bull was loose in a forest in Odense. So the two days test lasted, I hurried to Aarhus and solved tasks and drove as quickly as possible back to Odense
When I got the internship at Polfoto.
Winner of the Danish Press Photo Awards for the best politician photo.
Elected as a student representative on the PF Board.
Relief after two days nonstop on the phone to get a free line to my senior contact in Riga, to get an official invitation for my visa so I could get to the Baltic countries and Russia to cover the unrest.
That day in 1992 Kl. 6:00 in the morning when I stood in front of the door to my future editorial in Brussels after a whole night on the roads of Europe.
My breakthrough in Brussels came with coverage of the kidnapping of the Swedish rider Ulrika Bide where I was photographer for Expressen, Svenska Dagbladet and Verdens Gang.
Freelance for Reuters.
When I was convinced my old colleague from Odense, Christian Jørgensen, that he should not come to Brussels but move to Berlin, where he happily remains.
Employed at Nordfotos editorial in Odense in February 1994
Became the first tenured Danish press, and perhaps in all of Scandinavia, who was sent out as a correspondent. I opened the same year in October Nordfotos editorial office in Brussels. It was done in collaboration with NTB in Norway, FLT Pica in Sweden and Lehtikuva Oy in Finland.
As Ritt Bjerregaard and the other Commissioners left office because of scandals. My daughter was born that night. I slept in the hospital and very early in the morning I said goodbye to my wife and daughter and drove in to the editors office to lead the battle along with five freelance photographers I had hired for Nordfoto. The day we sent pictures all over Europe.
When I during a summit in Barcelona scolded the French President, Jacques Chirac, because his bodyguards where between him and my camera, it helped and I got my pictures. Some time later, he did the same in Jerusalem, where he threatened Israeli security officials to travel home if they did not give him a clear view and distance so he could see and well, really being seen himself.
The coverage of the World Cup in France in 1998.
The closure of Nordfotos editorial in Brussels in August 1999, when I went home and continued my work at Nordfotos editorial in Odense.
When I was sacked from Scanpix Nordfoto in 2002 and had to put my property for sale with a greater loss and commute to Brussels, as my wife had returned to to earn enough to provide for our children.
The establishment of the EUP Images in 2003 with the then two German and a Finnish colleague.
Establishment of the family business INSPIRIT International Communications in 2004.

Jørn Stjerneklar: Well then, it’s damn impossible to define highlights, just got the same question in another context. The experiences are different in different contexts. Was it when I met Mandela? No, but it was a highlight. Wars? Both yes and no. The genocide in Rwanda? It was a peak and trough at all levels. I enjoy meeting new people in the environment they live in. It can be a Somali refugee in Kenya, the poor in the slums of Nairobi, an exciting business woman who is very wealthy in Johannesburg. A trip up Kilimanjaro or hunting in Zanzibar. Riding an elephant in Zimbabwe or drinking real coffee in Ethiopia. Luckily, there are hundreds of highlights, that’s why we are here. Life is unusually short, so it is important to push it and learn every day!

Nina Mouritzen: It’s hard to summarize. I deal mostly with process, not with where it should end, so on the basis there is a lot of highlights.

Jacob Langvad: What I am doing now is a combination of all the things that interest me and that I’ve been involved with since I studied at the Danish School of Journalism. I have found a niche that makes sense and that concerns me. It is a combination of visual communication, market research and technology. I am involved in a major market research project about the growing middle class in Brazil, Russia, India and China. The project will run over a number of years and culminate in a series of products including visual reports, books, website, conference and more.

Poul Madsen: I have worked as a newspaper photographer in well over 3 years and I have never really cared about it. Therefore I started 4 years ago a multimedia production company that develops and deals with online storytelling. I do not see myself only as a photographer but more as a visual journalist. I am passionate about making my own independent stories and to follow them through. Besides my studies abroad my career highlight so far has been that I have managed to get my name recognised internationally as an innovative and dedicated multimedia photographer. I have had my stories in some of the most recognized foreign media, like the New York Times and on the whole it seems to me, that I found my niche in an industry that is said to be both in rapid development and maturity.

How would you describe your type of photography “in 25 words or less?”

Erik Luntang-Jensen: Maybe I misunderstand the question, but I have never thought of that. A picture editor at Polfoto, during my internship there, once said something like, that I, imagewise, was not the very best photojournalist, but that one could always count on that I came home with something. I have quite often wondered about that, and still do.

Jørn Stjerneklar: I’m not an artist. I use pictures to tell stories, they are not meant to be exhibited or printed in fine photo books.

Nina Mouritzen: Art & Commerce? …. You can call it whatever you want. I do not feel I fit in any particular box, and I only do projects I think are exciting. This sets me between a few different chairs, but I always hope that a new one will created for me.

Jacob Langvad: I do many portraits with a sober, sensing approach. We can call it the anthropological photograph. I am inspired by many different photographers, including Joel Sternfeld and Taryn Simon to name two.

Poul Madsen: My photograph is social, documentary, single, tightly composed and honest. I’m not hiding behind 400 different Photoshop filters.

How is the working process abroad relative to Denmark?

Erik Luntang-Jensen: As a freelance it is probably the same, perhaps?
As an employee, it was associated with a huge freedom when I was my own boss. I was the only one in the Berlingske photo crew who was allowed to work for “the enemy” at Rådhuspladsen (Politiken). It was also then, when you often could not tell the difference between Berlingske Tidende and Jyllands-Posten’s front pages. The daily planning we stood for. We had not only Nordic special assignments for newspapers and magazines, but performed tasks directly for media in Ireland, England, Germany, Austria, Switzerland.
We traveled all over Europe and telephoned Copenhagen the day before to tell that they could expect to get pictures from Rome next afternoon and the day after it would be from Dublin we sent photos. Working as Nordfoto correspondent was a mixture of photography, picture editor and administrator.

Jørn Stjerneklar: Depending on where you are. Sitting in the middle of nowhere can be cumbersome. No power, poor satellite connection, but compared to when I started my career, many things are super easy today. Otherwise we work like they do in Denmark. With great humility towards people and their history.

Nina Mouritzen: I do not know. I work in my own way, which is probably very influenced by having lived a certain place for 10 years and feel reasonably unaffected by contemporary trends and methods and do things which I feel are most natural.

Jacob Langvad: It depends on which country and which customer you work for. In a city like New York, there is far greater tradition for photo productions and several suppliers of various services. To photograph people on the street is much easier in Brazil because people are not hysterical or paranoid about where the images will be used. In return, you have to be a little more vigilant if you have equipment in the field here, due to crime.

Poul Madsen: I know only what it is like to work in India and that is something different. The salary down there is quite low, the work is not particularly feted and the working hours horrible. One of my good friends who is the image manager at a national newspaper has just decided to step down and go freelance. Being a full-time photographer at an Indian newspaper means working weeks of 60 hours + / Additionally, many photographers have not very good equipment. When I comet to Mumbai in 2005, I had a cheap laptop PC with me … it was like none of the local photographers could afford!

What types of clients do you have?

Erik Luntang-Jensen: In the nineties it was 95% press. Now it’s probably half made press and half communication. There are international organizations, the press in Scandinavia, Ireland, London, Germany, Austria, Spain and more, however, most newspapers.

Jørn Stjerneklar: Well all kinds, apart from purely advertising, which I personally do not like to do, but have great respect for. TV, radio, magazines, daily newspapers, weekly newspapers, websites, calendars, you name it. As little news as possible.

Nina Mouritzen: People who like my image style.

Jacob Langvad: In São Paulo I am working on market research projects for Brazilian advertising agencies and international magazines.

Poul Madsen: I photograph primarily for magazines, journals and organizations at home and abroad. Furthermore, I teach international workshops, I edit and program multimedia for other photographers and finally I shoot videos and short documentaries.

How do you market yourself?

Erik Luntang-Jensen: By meeting the deadline and agreements to the letter. Otherwise, the word of mouth method.

Jørn Stjerneklar: By personal contact with potential customers.

Nina Mouritzen: How do you mean? I have a website. But no newsletter, blog, facebook profile or whatever else is going on on the web. I canvas for project I think sound interesting, but otherwise people call if they have seen something I’ve done.

Jacob Langvad: Typically through personal contacts or people who see my work in magazines or projects. I also have a website that provides jobs. I have traveled around a lot in recent years so I have all my customers pretty much all over the place – which is both good and bad.

Poul Madsen: I let the rumor about my abilities leak. It sounds stupid, but viral marketing works fine for me. I get inquiries from some of the biggest agencies and media in the world and it is very exciting although I still consider my company Bombay Flying Club to be in a start-up phase. I have a lot to learn but it is the right path for me – that’s for sure!

What is most important to break through where you are. Being a good photographer or a good businessman?

Erik Luntang-Jensen: I am a poor businessman. The second part, I will let others assess.

Jørn Stjerneklar: Both parts. As in Denmark.

Nina Mouritzen: It’s going to depend on what “break through” means. To get rich? Then you might ask the question to someone other than me.

Jacob Langvad: Talent, industriousness and good contacts.

Poul Madsen: Both. But I don’t think about money as such, I have no ambition to be rich. Of course I would like to run a healthy business while I have the time and opportunity to do projects and stories which I am passionate. Of course you need to make a lot of “bread and butter” on the sidelines, but that it is only good. I became a father in June and since then I have not had as much desire to travel to the world’s hotspots as reportage photographer. I leave that to others. There are so many “rock star photographers” in this business and they all fight. The times are not as they have been and it has become harder to make a name for himself in the industry. You get nothing for free. If you want something as a photographer, you have to fight for it yourself and that I really like. I am a fighter. The day I no longer think it’s inspiring and fun, I’ll find something else to do. I’m probably an entrepreneurial type. I could, for example not imagine being permanently employed at the same newspaper for 10 years.

Can you tell us a little about your work and how much you work?

Erik Luntang-Jensen: It’s a little hard. There may be a week in which nothing happens, then the next week is totally with photo assignments morning, noon, evening and night while the wife has a similar week and the children need to be transported to and from school, sports and other leisure activities. Last week the first assignment came in after a whole month without commissions.
It may be a little varied and sometimes also a little exciting if there will be money to pay the rent.

Jørn Stjerneklar: My work ranges widely. I have for many years been quardromedial, at least. When I work? The head is never static, as a freelancer, it is necessary to get good ideas all the time. People know not what they want, you have to tell them. I find it hard to define “work”. It flows together with my hobby – tell stories. But I try to take vacation for three months a year, on average.

Nina Mouritzen: I take “pictures” a couple of times a week, ie either assignments for magazines, or press photos or some of my own personal projects and I’m disciplined to reach my own, and naturally, magazines, deadlines. If work is to be inspired, thinking ideas and projects, doing research, I work all the time …….

Jacob Langvad: I have recently been a photographer at a major market research project for Nike about football culture in South America. Here I had to photograph the 30 case studies in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City and Buenos Aires. The result was a 200-page book with portraits, landscapes, stories and information design.
Other jobs could be portraits for magazines like Monocle and the Financial Times or the American and Italian magazines, like doing stories about Brazilian artists or business men.

Poul Madsen: I work with a great many different things so it is very versatile. I shoot kittens for Dyrenes Beskyttelse, program multimedia productions for some of the world’s best photographers and travel to shoot for NGOs and organizations. When there is enough to do, I love my job. I spend probably 40 to 45 hours a week as a freelancer. Much of the time is in front of the screen. I don’t shoot that much.

Who are your biggest rivals?

Erik Luntang-Jensen: the EU institutions, providing free service to the media who uncritically use what they offer. This is not so much the media from the former Eastern European countries. They still have memories of state propaganda in memory, but in turn can not pay.
And then there are colleagues, who set prices so low that they even go personally bankrupt. They do not earn enough to pay their taxes by 33% and their social benefits of 22% of the revenue. They use the three years to bomb the market, then afterwards we must use energy to explain to customers that they will have to pay to use a professional photographer.

Jørn Stjerneklar: I’m sitting in a niche and have not really any serious competitors: -)

Nina Mouritzen: ??

Jacob Langvad: There are so many talented photographers out there, that you can stare yourself blind. I am not thinking so much about the competition. However, in Brazil, for example. the price level is generally much lower than in Europe / US, so it happens that one is undercut by local photographers.

Poul Madsen: Photographers destroying the profession and the industry by abusing editing tools like Photoshop. Newspapers destroy journalism by filling their columns with the indifferent infotainment and gossip bullshit. Politiken’s online newspaper reminds me gradually of the now defunct magazine called “A crazy, crazy world.” The media industry is in flux and national newspapers can not figure out how to use the internet even if print media are struggling. It’s a little sad to see…

What is the future like?

Erik Luntang-Jensen: It looks very exciting with lots of challenges.

Jørn Stjerneklar: Very good.

Nina Mouritzen: At a political / World Soluble plan? …. Better, thanks to Obama.

Jacob Langvad: Very interesting.

Poul Madsen: I do not know. I am not such a type that makes five-year plans and things like that. I take it as it comes. But if all goes well then I have created a professional production company with distinctive quality. The exact opposite of the way that the media industry is running at the moment!

What has surprised you on your journey?

Erik Luntang-Jensen: There have not been any surprises to me, but I am rather surprised that the media uncompromisingly accepts free journalistic services and materials such as photos, TV, photographers from public institutions as we, the press should be critical of.
That is interesting; what happened in the EU in this decade has declined so drastically as they have. Before the summer holidays both Berlingske Tidende and Politiken every two full-time correspondents. Today they have half, and not forgetting that Politiken luckily still have their trainees. Berlingske had in the nineties two permanent employees and a freelance employee journalist. Børsen has not had a correspondent in recent years. In the early nineties, it had two.
And it surprises me a little that I have to work as a PR photographer for businesses and institutions.
In the nineties, we were two Danish photographers (Claus Lunde), 2 Finnish and 1 Norwegian. In addition, we could add one Norwegian and Swedish photographer from Paris, which is still there. Here in the city, we are only my Finnish colleague Juha Roininen and myself.

Jørn Stjerneklar: That Danes (editors, etc.) still cares so little for Africa.

Nina Mouritzen: Life in general is fairly complex to understand, so I will say that every day sends a “curve ball”.

Jacob Langvad: I’m just pleasantly surprised by Brazil. It is a very exciting country with great development. My friends and family are beginning to understand that I am not only here to lie on the beach and dance samba. São Paulo is the economic and cultural center for the whole of South America and a very exciting place to be.

Poul Madsen: How level of competition within the profession and how the editors of magazines consistently use the same photographers … and thus the same visual expression. It’s probably been a surprise to me how much portraits and pictures really fill the magazine industry. It is a “polished unreality” that is presented to the readers.

What are the advantages of living where you live?

Erik Luntang-Jensen: The sky is the limit. Brussels is a very tolerant city to live in. I think it is because it has always been bilingual, Flemish and French, and thus different cultures.

Jørn Stjerneklar: Eight-month summer skies, it’s relatively cheap, good wine, fresh fish and vegetables year round and people who are open and welcoming.

Nina Mouritzen: The whole world is at your doorstep and the city never so much as takes a nap.

Jacob Langvad: Large economic development, many creative people, sympathetic people, good climate, better service, exciting language, beautiful nature.

Poul Madsen: It was cheap and there was really short way in if you wanted to enter and succeed in higher social strata. It is also a good way learn how to cope in a culture that is so radically different from the Danish. If you can work as a photographer in India you can survive anywhere.

Do you networks with other danish photographers abroad?

Erik Luntang-Jensen: I network with Christian Jørgensen in Berlin, otherwise not. I networked a little with other Nordic photographers, but otherwise it’s here in town it takes place, where we are a small mix of Polish, American, South American, French, Flemish, Walloon, German, Spanish and Finnish influences.

Jørn Stjerneklar: No.

Nina Mouritzen: I speak and e-mail with other photographers whose work I find interesting. Their nationality and geographical location has nothing to do with it.

Jacob Langvad: No, not really.

Poul Madsen: Not so much Danish, but more foreign photographers and journalists. I networks with people who have the same interests as me and whom I maybe can work with. I have received many good sources and contacts abroad using the social networking services.

Is there something you want to warn against?

Erik Luntang-Jensen: To underestimate working conditions, tasks and more.
Often there are only seconds or minutes available on a task and the Commissioners, or their spin doctors, are not necessarily happy to have an independent photojournalist in on the interview.
Had a situation with a former Commissioner, where his spokesperson believed that I had enough photos after a few minutes. After some diplomatic discussion I was allowed to stay the entire interviewed. He had just helped his get his Commissioner jacket on, and I got a single photo of that situation. The photo came on the section front page and a few days after the journalist was asked that negatives be deleted and that it was the last time that the newspaper got a photographer into the Commissioner. They demand was later retracted.

Jørn Stjerneklar: Not to be creative and inventive is a sure killer. Being too proud to accept small assignments. Not to be humble.

Nina Mouritzen: Supports of the Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti).

Jacob Langvad: No. Nothing more than what I have said earlier. There is a big difference between being on vacation somewhere and actually live and work in a foreign city. This can be tricky with visas and work permits in all locations outside the EU, and if you do not have friends or work it can take a long time to build something.

Poul Madsen: Oh .. not really. You should do it because you are passionate about it and because quite honestly would like to commit your self to a different culture.

Is there anything you would do differently?

Erik Luntang-Jensen: Lots, but I can not right here and now remember what it is! Maybe say an apology here and there and then just try to do better next time.

Jørn Stjerneklar: No

Nina Mouritzen: Nothing at all. Nothing has gone according to any plan, and that has always been the plan.

Jacob Langvad: No.

Poul Madsen: No

Has being abroad developed you as a photographer?

Erik Luntang-Jensen: This decade has developed me as a photographer, but not because I am abroad. I work hard to develop my own style after many years as agency photographer. As the news photographer I was, it was not style that told the story. When I see old pictures, I can still remember the feeling of pride when I got the right picture. We spent a whole day to gain access and five seconds to plan and photograph.

Of course, one way or another I have been evolving. It’s hard and grueling work from time to time to get the best positions and thus the best photos. There are not many old colleagues from back then and those that remain take it slow today. I just can not take it easy, I still have that old fighter, who has to be in the middle of the event. I’ve tried to make it different, but with 27 member countries and thus more photo- and television photographers, to be multiplied by at least 2, it is difficult to do something that is different, if it is to sell. Here it is important to be first and in the best position.

Jørn Stjerneklar: Definitely.

Nina Mouritzen: I have lived in New York since I was 19 to 29 …… I think this is when one develops most as a human being at all, and commits most mistakes and makes the most discoveries. My photographic work is parallel to my life, so yes, I have developed a lot as a photographer. Whether it’s a product of having lived abroad I do not know.

Jacob Langvad: Definitely.

Poul Madsen: Definitely. It has create a lot of things for me. India was also the first place where I really was trying to make documentaries. India is an excellent place to be if you want to learn how to sweet-talk your self into the right places. It’s bureaucracy’s stronghold!

Do you have some advice for those who are considering traveling out in the world?

Erik Luntang-Jensen: Do it if you have a dream, but be prepared that you may never come home again. Maybe because you find out that the food department is ten times better than in the supermarket at home, people are more friendly, there are different cultures and people, and one might find a local lover you start a family with.

Jørn Stjerneklar: Do it!

Nina Mouritzen: Off you go!

Jacob Langvad: Try it for a time, for example. 4-6 months before doing it for real with visa etc. Get local contacts who can introduce you. Be sure to have something to do before you leave.

Poul Madsen: Just do it. Do it wholeheartedly and remember that nothing is as you expect it. Take each day as a challenge and give it all you got. Do not look back and live in the present. Network and create a network in the local environment.

Do you have any advice for graduate photographers in general?

Erik Luntang-Jensen: Maintain enthusiasm, be positive, and most importantly adhere to agreements and deadlines. Here where I work, it is important that you arrive on time, otherwise there is no access and thus no pictures.

Jørn Stjerneklar: Do not believe that you are world champions. But believe in yourself. Have respect for the subject, tell the truth, keep your head up. And although there is nothing new under the sun you can always interpret the past and present new angles.

Nina Mouritzen: Can you train to become a photographer ?? !!

Jacob Langvad: Full speed ahead and think positive.

Poul Madsen: Listen to yourself and find a niche. The media and photography industry is under pressure and there are not many permanent positions. Be passionate about your work and push yourself 100%. Create your own look and stand by it. Never refuse a challenge!

Sorry for the slight delay and thanks to:
Erik Luntang-Jensen ( https://twitter.com/luntang ) Jørn Stjerneklar Nina Mouritzen Jakob Langvad ( https://twitter.com/jlangvad ) Poul Madsen

Old man smokes cigarette while holding holstered pistol  Miklas Njor  Miklas Njor

Image search engine Optimizing for Photographers

ALT attributes, Title attributes and File Names are your friends.

They are the most important features when you as a photographer want to do Image Search Optimisation (ISO) for your webpages or site.

You want future clients to not only find your site for your chosen keywords, but also have your photos found when someone searches looking to buy images.

But let me start by saying, that I think we should always try to make a site search engine ready and always keep the end user in mind, not the search engines or webcrawlers that crawl your site. And before you go checking my code, just remember: Do as I say, not as I do! Okay, on with the tutorial.

The Alternative text

A short rundown of each

ALT tag – Should be a short alternative description of the image.
Title tag – Specifies extra information about image. Shows up when user hovers over the image.
Filename – Instead of _BPL_2453.JPG write a descriptive filename like: Old-guy-holding-gun.jpg.

There are three reason for the use of ALT tags/attributes (alternative text tag).

Helping people with disabilities
The real reason for the use of ALT tags is to allow text based browsers used by people who are partial or totally blind, or people suffering from dyslexia to have the ALT tags read to them via textreader browsers.

This is still used to this day and they rely on accurate descriptions of pictures in order to make full sense of the web page they are one. So don’t forget them.

The ALT tag is not shown in normal browser except when the image doesn’t load. The browser only shows the Title tag.

Pageload
There are still people surfing the web using dial-ups at 14.4-28.8k (that’s 0.014 Megabit).
So for people to avoid having to wait for ever for a page to load, many turn showing images off and read the ALT tags to decide if they want to load the image or not.

Helping webcrawlers read our pages
And last but not least: search engines’ webcrawlers can’t read images. They rely heavily on the ALT tag to tell them what the image is about and what’s going on in the photo. They also read the text surrounding the images, so this is equally important.

Okay, so this is what the code looks like

&lt;img src=/imagefolder/image-name.jpg alt=image description title=image title&gt;

To the left of it you will find the image’s source – the path to the image on the web -, in the middle is the ALT tag image description and to the right is the Title tag.

Old man smokes casually while holding holstered pistol

How to use the ALT tag
Remember users with disabilities have the ALT text read out loud, so make sure the sentence is descriptive and makes sense and isn’t stuffed with keywords.

Although there is no actual limit on how many words you can write to the ALT tag, putting too many words and especially repeating keywords in the ALT tag will sound the Black Hat SEO sirens at Google et al and you could be punished.

Keep it around five to ten words maximum.

My own medicine
A short descriptive ten word maximum ALT tag for the images to the right could be:
Old man holds lit cigarette in one hand while holding holstered pistol in the other.

I know this can bring all kinds of images to mind, but it’s better than having read aloud image. The image caption and surrounding content is where you want to elaborate on what more is going on in the photo.

Only use ALT tags for images you want to be descriptive about. For images like background images, spacers, twirling globes etc. use alt=”” and preferably save them as .gif whenever possible.

NOTE: Note that for those who like their sites to be XHTML-compliant, this will break that – XHTML requires that ALL images have ALT tags. Having any images without ALT tags may also break compliance with usability standards.

You can also use the image to link to related articles. To do so use this code:

&lt;a href=/articlesfolder/article.php&gt;&lt;img src=/imagefolder/image-name.jpg alt=image description title=image title&gt;&lt;/a&gt;

How to use ALT tags, Title Tags and Filenames in images

ALT tag
– ALT tags are read by text browsers.
– Not shown in browser except when image doesn’t load.
– Only use ALT Tags to tag important images on your web pages.
– Five to ten word maximum.
– Do not stuff ALT tags with unrelated or repetitive keywords (looks like spam).
– For Unimportant imagery like backgrounds, spacer gifs, etc use alt=””.
– ALT tags should be short sentences. Not a staccato list of comma separated keywords.
– ALT tags weigh heavier in search engines than Title tags.

Title tags
– Use Title tags to give the image a more descriptive title.
– Title tag is shown when you hover over the image.
– 128 characters maximum, but you might want to keep it shorter.
– Don’t over-stuff with keywords.

Filenames
– It is advised to use hyphens (-) instead of underscores (_). And it’s easier to write them!
– Be descriptive.
– Remove “stop-word” (a, to, from, he, his, her etc.)
– No longer than 32 characters.

The Title attribute
Google reads the title tag so it equally important that you are descriptive and you can write more text. 128 characters to be precise. Title tags are shown when you hover over the image with the mouse’ cursor.

The File Name
Use short and descriptive names.
The jury is still out on whether to use hyphens (-) or underscore (_). Google is reported to treat underscored words as one word, so to play it safe you might want to stick to hyphens which are treated as a word separator.

Filesize and folderstructure
I’ve read that filesize and the name of the imagefolder are important. Filesize could definitely have importance because webcrawlers like fast pageloads, but do you really want to show badly jpg’ed images to your viewers or future clients. No!

Besides the images on this site are huge and they show up in Google’s image search. A workaround might be some kind of javascript or CSS hack, but that’s maybe overdoing it.

You should also be aware of the fact that using Photoshop Imageready to export or save images for the web will strip all metadata from the image leaving it orphaned and without any contact details or copyright information.

Regarding folderstructure (img src:"images/india/animals/tigers/Royal-Bengal-tiger.jpg")

I do not think that it has any effect. As long as you don’t block webcrawlers via your robots.txt file you’ll be fine. Most automated CMS like wordpress upload images to folders based on month, so you’ll have the hassle of creating specific folders.

Old man smokes casually while holding holstered pistol THUMB

Other things to take into consideration
– Pagetitle of the webpage
– Supply smaller thumbnails approx. 150×150 px. Good for socialmedia like Digg and facebook who often scan the page for small images to put along side your link.

W2G_kommentar12

Behind the front page – an afterthought comes to life

Come and take a look behind the scenes on how the front page of Where2go was created. We’ll talk about why and how things are done. And show you some examples.
If you have questions, feel free to use the commentform at the bottom to ask them.



Photos by Kennet Havgaard
The photoshoot with Peter Frödin og Hella Joof (shot by photographer Kennet Havgaard) had gone very well and art director Mads Bastell was very pleased.

A few days later when he was looking through the contact sheets from the photosession trying to decide on which photo to use he thought to himself: “It would have been really cool if they where standing on top of their names”.



A quick mock-up is made
It might have been possible in real life, but it was too late to do anything about it now and besides, building life size letters would have cost a fortune and be very time-consuming.
Maybe it could be photoshopped? He made a quick sketch and pitched the idea to the editors who gave it a thumbs up.

Thunderbirds are go.

I believe it’s always important to get the photographer in on a project as early in the process as possible and this is something Mads is really good at.

We discussed the project thoroughly. Could it be done and would it look real? What about the camera angle. Could that be replicated? What kind of letters and where would we find them?
With a tight deadline looming, could I make it on time? How should the letters be positioned and would the names fit? Could we make the signs look see-through? Should they hang from string in real life? Would it be better to just type the letters in photoshop and style them to look like real letters?

I had recently done another but smaller photoshop job for Where2Go of a Street in Copenhagen which consist of about 60 photos stitched together and photoshopping images is something I’ve done before.

Today’s show is sponsored by the letters IRL

We decided to get as much shot in real life as possible. The project’s Achilles’ heels are the letters on which Frödin and Joof stand. So we began searching the web for shops close by who stocked large letters and more particularly the letters we needed.

We found 17cm tall letters at Panduro Hobby. They had all but the umlaut O (Ö), but that we made out of an ordinary O.

For the sign’s headlines we found smaller letters at Tiger. The body copy was printed on to sheets of overhead ‘paper’ and glued to clear plexiglass (this would later prove to be a problem). The large where2go sign was hand cut and are about 20 cm tall.




The letters look too thin and the angle is wrong.
I started shooting the letters one at a time and from many angles. chucked them into photoshop and pasted the names together. It looked like shit. The angle is all wrong.

Played around some more with different angles but to no avail. It didn’t look realistic and they seemed to thin.

Beginning to get a little frustrated I stack them the way they would have stood in the image and ta-da. That was it. The wobblyness looks real and the angle is perfect. Super. The project is moving forward.

Most of the smaller signs where OK, but the large ‘GO-sign’ proved to be a problem because the glued sheets didn’t go edge to edge. *photo of large bad one* + *photos of smaller ones*

All images are hauled into photoshop, grouped and retouched slightly. No need spending to much time on that until later on when I know what goes where.
A quick comp is made and sent to Mads so he knows what’s going on. OK, now the fun stuff starts.

The devil is in the shadows

Both are cut out and a gray background is inserted behind them.
Hover the image below to see the original image.

Shadows in Photoshop

I’ve made the shadows by creating a new layer from the letters layer (drag to copy), distorted them to my liking, selected the area around them (magic wand) and choose a wider feather.

Inverted selection. Created a new layer and used the brush tool (black colour) to fill out the selection. Then I used the eraser to make a graduation in the shadows.

Finally I set the transparency to about 25% – 50%. Things start to look realistic.

Reflections i Photoshop

I’ve copied the letter layer, flipped it and distorted it to my liking. Used the eraser tool to make graduation.

Signs at bottom are inserted

The signs consist of several layers so I can create perspective and control transparency. The where split into ‘see-through plastic sign’, ‘body copy’ and ‘headline’ layers. This way it’s easier to control all elements. Layers are your friend.

Signs in middle are inserted

Shadows are added and things start to look realistic.

Top signs are added

Originally the Where2Go sign was gray with a metalic look. But we decided to slap some happy colour on it. OK. Almost there…

Shadows are added to the top signs

Ta-Daaaa

Bjarke Myrthu

Interview with Bjarke Myrthu about Magnum in Motion

How did the idea for Magnum In Motion emerge?
I met Susan Meiselas of Magnum in 2002, when I was in New York to receive an award for my thesis assignment of a web documentary that I did together with Peter Hove Olesen and Johannes Bøggild. She absolutely loved our project and offered back then, that I could start at Magnum. But back then the CEO of Magnum was totally uninterested in the web. Furthermore, I didn’t move fast enough. I was tired after the thesis project, was broke after four years at studying, and had just met a new girlfriend. So I could not quite grasp how I’d move to New York (where cool that could be).

But then in the summer of 2004 I changed my mind. To work for Magnum would be very cool, so I decided to try again. I sat down and wrote two concepts. One which I called “Magnum In Motion” which was an experience based photo magazine. And one that I called “Magnum Academy” which was a community for photographers (the two concepts were later merged). It took one afternoon, I had gone and pondered the idea for several years. I emailed concepts to Magnum and hoped for the best.

It happened that they gotten a new CEO, since I first spoke with them. He believes that the web is the great future. Susan remembered me and supported me. Mark Lubell (the new CEO) rang an hour after I sent the mail, and asked if I could come to the annual photographer meet-up. I ran out into the street in front of my apartment in Nørrebro, Copenhagen, and screamed to high heaven.

Bjarke Myrthu car

Bjarke Myrthu – Photo: Joi Ito https://www.flickr.com/photos/joi/

Four days later I was at a party in New York, with photographers like Nachtway and Cornell Capa. Fairly surreal. Then came some months of wrangling. Originally, Magnum In Motion was just my concept of a community and a web magazine. But as things have evolved it has actually become both the name of the website and the name of Magnum’s “development department” where we currently are two employees and a trainee. What we’re doing is not only a website, but a re-development of Magnum on a range of levels, which will lead to more new products and new ways to showcase our work (the last is sounds a bit vague, but that’s because I can’t reveal much right now).

What is your ambition with the project?
My big pet peeve is that too much web content is static and looks poorly visually. You are not using the web properly.

When radio journalism was born it was almost spoken newspapers, when television came to, it was the radio with pictures. The web is largely lacking in still finding it’s own standpoint. A self-narrative form. I think a lot of it is tied up in photojournalism and visual narratives.

The problem is probably that the media has always been in a sender -> receiver relationship that only goes in one direction. There is never a dialogue. You talk about “an independent narrative form” and “very visual narratives,” “too much web content is static and poor visual screwed together.” Isn’t it just old HTML in new bottles?
To through a lot of photos up on some HTML pages does not necessarily something dynamic and different narrative. But what if stills and moving images (video) flows freely in and out between each other, with, text items, interactive graphics and a soundtrack that binds it all together. Then we are approaching something more than “old HTML in new bottles.”

If you then also get interactivity into the project, it’s really interesting. It is precisely the confrontation with the principle of the story and the information always goes from the receiver to the sender which is one of the interesting aspects of digital stories. Interactivity can take place on many levels. It can be a way to break the structure of a story up, so that the receiver will get different inputs. It may be the recipient provides ongoing input to the narrator, who then uses his knowledge to change the story. Some of the American newspapers, for example, started to use web statistics from the grid in the editing of the newspaper. If there are many who click onto a particular story, you go deeper into the story.

Can you provide examples?
Currently I am working with an idea which is to create some small picture stories, where you follow certain people from a common starting point (in this case, a nightclub in New York). It is a 100 percent documentary project, and all the people are real. Nothing is arranged, the photographer follows them. The people all know each other and their paths crossed both at the nightclub and later during the night. The recipient can choose who to follow and take different paths as the story progresses. It is an example of a story that you can only do on a digital medium.

The big problem is that many of the mainstream media can not afford this kind of content because it is quite expensive to do, and because they have created a web culture where people expect to get everything for free. So I have long been pondered how to make some form of web media for visual multimedia stories that is sound economically.

How do you change people’s attitude from web content should be free. Can’t you just run google ads, because who wants to pay to look at archival images?
In principle, I would very much like to avoid that our site is plastered with banner ads. It’s not really Magnums style, although it may sound a bit snobbish. However, we are about to close a contract with a major sponsor, who puts a decent amount of money in the project in return for a discrete exposure.

But to return to the core of the issue, it is always very difficult to make people pay for something that used to come for free. It is much easier to go the other way. But I see a clear trend that more and more media start taking money for content. Look at El Pais you can not get anywhere other than the front page without paying. So it’s about to happen.

Elliott Erwitt

Eliott Erwitt – Photo: Alessio Jacona https://www.flickr.com/photos/blogs4biz/

At Magnum we will actually make it free for everyone to look at archive images (if you want to download and use them it is of course an entirely different matter). What people have to pay for are the things that are unique to us. For example, a virtual workshop with three of the best Magnum photographs, an online chat with Thomas Dworzak’s on his experiences in Iraq, or the story of how Elliott Erwitt was allowed to take the most intimate photos of John F. Kennedy.

Additionally, you will want to take money for some of our feature stories. Take for example the idea with the interactive club history. If it is bold enough, why should they not pay a few dollars to see it? People also go to the movies and pay, or pay to read a good book or a delicious magazine. We’re not talking about Omnibus news which is impersonal, and that anyone can deliver. One can see in the newspaper world, that this kind of content is being given away for free.

How much of the material will be new features and how much is from the archive?
As it looks now, it is around 80 percent from the archives. But interviews and other stuff is new. In the long run it will probably only be 50 percent of the images coming from the archives.

How have they accepted the project?
I met with some of the photographers, which of course ultimately are the ones who must give the green light. But all are quite fond of the idea. It was mostly a matter of economics. But they succeeded in getting into the deal that can give me shelter and little food and still be economically sound for Magnum.

Is this Danish modesty. Your idea has a market value, which you should be well rewarded for?
In the US, Magnum has actually been financially on the ass for several years. Paradoxically it was rescued by the September 11 attacks and actually got the office out of a larger debt, but there is still not very much money. It is going poorly with many of our traditional customers in the newspaper world. So Magnum In Motion is an attempt to make a “turn around” as it’s called in the business world. We will try to find new revenue opportunities for the kind of photography Magnum stands for. So a lot is at stake, as Mark Lubell (Head of Magnum USA) has to implement this (not economic, but more prestige wise). For me the stake is that I go for a very low salary, but I have a prospect of getting a substantial bonus if we start to make money on the project. But as it looks now, I could earn much more by taking a job in Denmark. So it’s not what drives me. I have not much to lose. If the project does not go, I will obviously be upset for a while. But then I could take everything I’ve learned and use it somewhere else.

Which title / status do you have?
My title is Executive Editor for Magnum In Motion. But the job includes more than editing. I am also a kind of development guy. I actually got my card last week. It’s a bit childish, but it’s damn cool to see it in print. So it feels a little like I’m an established part of the community.

I have currently only one employee and a trainee in my department. And as I said I receive no great salary. So in that way, I have no great status. But I am very close to Magnums top management, and we hold longer meetings almost daily. So in that sense, I feel that I have a great influence on Magnums renewal process, and I’m an important piece in the “turnaround” that I have mentioned.

The photographers are quite fond of what I do on the web. But I’ll definitely have to prove my self in the future to keep the high status among photographers. And that’s fair enough. They are people who have had all sorts of accolades and made fantastic projects. So a web documentary here and there, and a small prize here and there, doesn’t counts much in the long run. Denmark has suffered from a trend where there is too much focus on who now has won the World Press and so on. Such things are they are completely oblivious to here. They also do not care whether you are young or old, or who you know. It is the work and projects that counts. I think that’s pretty cool.

To eJour you say: “Maybe Magnum is a leader in terms of images, but they want to move more towards the Web and to a greater extent make use of all the various instruments: photo, sound, text, etc. -which characterizes the digital media. “Do you think the press photo is on it’s way to the grave, or will it takes a different twist?

Bjarke Myrthu lecture

Bjarke Myrthu – Photo: Joi Ito https://www.flickr.com/photos/joi/

I think it is with the press photography or photojournalism, as with everything else that is journalism. There are trends that come and go, and it is an area in constant development. What you see happening now is that all mainstream media moves away from telling coherent visual stories. Instead, the individual images are of a more illustrative character.

Why do you think that they are “moving away from telling coherent visual stories.”?
It’s a really good question, which I often ask myself. It’s probably ultimately a financial decision. They are afraid to use a lot of resources on the photograph, at a time when they are financially challenged. I think one could prosper as a traditional newspaper, if you bet more on the visual and feature substance. And then let the news run by the same concept as the Metro and the other free newspapers. But you gotta be careful. Those who are sitting and dealing with the day to day at the newspapers are talented people, so they have their reasons. It’s a bit like when we all criticize Morten Olsen (Danish Soccer Coach) for his tactics if the national team loses. But basically he is probably still a better coach than the man in the street.

But I have not the imagination to imagine that press photography will disappear. Some (especially here at Magnum) believe that the kind of photojournalism as Magnum stands for, is forever disappearing from the mainstream media. I am not so pessimistic. But in any case, I think that it’s good we have the web to maintain picture journalism.

Why keep photojournalism? There is probably a reason that people stop taking an interest in something?
I do not think people have stopped taking an interest in the narrative image journalism. I think it’s the editors and other gatekeepers who make the selections. But you’re right. Let fall what can not stand. But the novel was in crisis at a time, and today it does excellently. Movies have also occasionally problems. Therefore I think it is a trend of the times, more than a farewell to an entire genre.

Eyetrack studies show that “the reader focused on text and designs, rarely the visual elements, on a website” ( pressefotografforbundet.dk ) What is your comment on that?
Overall, I think that you have to pair this kind of studies with a good dose of common sense and practical knowledge. Otherwise it becomes a bit Erasmus Montanus like. If one concludes from such an eyetrack study, that visual elements on the web are not important, it’s like saying “a stone can not fly, mother can not fly, ergo mother is a stone.” The study shows just how people look at a particular website. But if you prioritized the visual content differently, the result may be very different. There is also a study (from Jacob Nielsen) showing that people only have the patience to wait a few seconds to download things. So it excludes the use of large images, video and other “heavy” content. But one forgets completely practical reason. What if the images is of a plane hitting the World Trade Center, wouldn’t people want to wait a few minutes to download that video.

What I am saying is, well, I still believe very much that the web is great for visual stories. There are just very few that really have created visual stories of equally high quality as a well-written magazine article or a documentary. Our thesis The Enemy Within had over 100,000 visitors in 2003 without any marketing. And it’s purely journalistic and narrative, I think it can be done much better than we did back in 2002. If such stories are being produced, and people are turning their backs on them, well then I’ll have to reconsider. But until then, I stand by the fact, that visual stories are amazing.

Why should Magnum have its own media platform? Shouldn’t photographers not just shut up and drive journalist to interview?
The reason why Magnum must have its own media platform is above all, that we can. It’s a great opportunity and we must not let any stone go unturned. We have an archive of half a million amazing pictures. Every day when I walk in the door and over to my desk, I go past meters of shelves with boxes where it says things like “The Spanish Civil War” “D-day landing” and “Kennedy, Berlin”. Historical images that most of the time just sit there. We want to enable them. Make them current by putting them into a contemporary context.

I see photographers as storytellers in line with journalists (many calls themselves photojournalists). A good story contains both concrete and abstract elements, and traditional photography and journalism complement each other well.

How can they complement each other well?

Bjarke Myrthu

Bjarke Myrthu – Photo: Joi Ito https://www.flickr.com/photos/joi/

If you see a photograph of as small child’s body that appears while workers uncovers a mass grave, it is a very concrete evidence. If the picture is good, it can also spark a lot of emotion. But if people then ask themselves where the mass grave was, how many were killed, how it happened also so on, so, most images fall short. There the traditional journalism takes over and you conduct interviews with experts, other sources and so on.

Journalism can also supplement the photograph, if, for example, they let people from the village tell about life before people were murdered and thrown into mass graves. It is something that has happened in the past, and therefore for good reasons can not be photographed. It always sounds a little trite with such an example. There’s thousands of combinations, when you think about how the two can complement each other.

Moreover, all stories get better by being created in the tension zone between several parties. If the photographer just keeps his mouth shut, he is an illustrator rather than a narrator. So I’d then invite the photographer to talk freely while he drives the reporter to interview. But also before, when the idea for the interview is set up. Otherwise, there is a tendency that the journalist does not think in abstracts and images. In practice, of course it is difficult sometimes, because it breaks with a long tradition of photographer and journalist as two autonomous sizes. A culture that both photographers and journalists have fed. I know that it is breaking up in the multimedia world, and I hope that is the case in the more established part of the media.

Will we see more collaboration between journalists and photographers?
I think so. But it is up to the photographers and journalists and not least their editors. Personally, I work very well with photographers, and I will continue to do so. As an editor, I try to create employees who see themselves as storytellers more than photographers or journalists. They are part of a team, and their specialty is a piece of a larger project that can not be something, if not everyone is working together.

Are you planning task sparring? Can you get photographers started with projects?
I can give them ideas, and if they are turned on by it, they go with the project. This has happened twice so far and it was a success both times. The ambition for the future is that In Motion must make money, so we have a budget to “hire” the photographers.

Do photographers at Magnum need to change habits and think multi-media?
Yes, you could say that. Maybe not all. It’s fine if you, for example, will produce books and exhibitions. If you are a great writer and sitting on a newspaper, an editor should not set this person to create multimedia stories. But that requires one is good at his specialty.

Right now, the photographers are very unsure about what can be done online. Apart from some of the young people who are already running with the the field. But they are almost all very creative and visionary. Otherwise, they would not be where they are in their careers. So I think that it comes all by itself when I have produced some examples that they can relate to.

Do photographers at Magnum work alone or with journalists?
It’s very different. But many of them like to work alone. Which I think can be very well in many situations. When I speak of a close collaboration between photographer and journalist I do not think that you necessarily have to go up and down on each other all the time. It’s more that we share research, concept development, storyboarding and so on. But in the field work, it is sometimes necessary to be alone, to achieve the proper intimacy and connection.

How many reader will the site have within a year and how many in three years?

Screengrab from Magnum in Motion http://inmotion.magnumphotos.com/

We are looking at the whole “market analysis” at the moment. But it’s a little guesswork. Magnums current site, which is not targeted at the general public, has 6,000 visitors a day so it may give some an indication. Personally, I hope 7-10.000 regular users within and around 20.000 in three years. But it is my personal goal right now, I do not really base it on facts and analysis.

How many users does it take for it to turn a profit and how many for you to call it a success?
We have yet to settle on a price for membership. But if you plan with twenty dollars for a year’s membership. We need 7-8.000 members to break even. But twice the number will probably be where I begin to proclaim it a solid success.

My feeling is that the site will be able to make a profit in half a year, but you will find it difficult to syndicate material to other media, where photographers and specially AP sits heavily on ” image slides “. What is your thought on that?
Initially, I was very focused on the syndication mostly because I like to see that the mainstream media moves goes past the “picture slides”. It will offer them real “features” that move much further than just to throw some images into a slideshow. But I think you’re right. It may be difficult to sell at a reasonable price. Right now, the first priority is to build a functioning community and our own media platform.

I still believe in syndication, but it doesn’t have such a high priority right now. We should not compete on current affairs. First, we do not have the resources, and secondly it would cannibalize our business, as we are still delivering news images to print. The syndicated content comes largely from archive material and more feature-related projects that would not find their way into newspaper columns normally. There we can deliver a unique product.

Around the presidential election, I made a small pilot project. We have great photos of most US presidents since World War II. Those where gathered into a feature entitled “How to become President?” I interviewed a number of experts, such as Kennedy’s spin doctor, on the qualities that created the former presidents. Then you could compare with Kerry and Bush. It is a kind of story that most media simply will not be able to make yourself. And we can provide this fairly cheap because it is material we have in the archives.

Wouldn’t that cannibalize on book sales?
No, the books provide a completely different experience than seeing something on the web. It’s another way to see the story. But if you look at news photo online or in a newspaper, it does not have the same difference.

Do you have a link to “How to become President”?
No, it’s just a dummy. In the beginning we had the ambition to make it complete, and put it online right around the election. But there were other things that made a higher priority. So right now there a few chapters and various other “details” missing. So therefore I would rather not have it open to public scrutiny.

You mention several times, that the cost as a factor. How big a factor is the quality of the product?
The quality of the product is crucial for an agency like Magnum. Our core business is to make the best documentary photography. I consider quality as inherent in our products, so that’s probably why I mostly mention the price.

Can we see the site anywhere? Originally the goal was to launch the first edition around now (2004). But the project has grown in scope (how I can’t quite reveal now). So it will probably not be up until February or March (2005).

But actually, I have not spent much time as I’d like on producing stories. I have more been buried in research to find the right technical platform, create a logical structure on the site, establish an overall design and so on. It is a fairly long process, because there are many who want to their say.

Are Magnum photographers to start blogging?

Paul Fusco E.W. Scripps School of Journalism

Paul Fusco – Foto: E.W. Scripps School of Journalism https://www.flickr.com/photos/scrippsjschool/

Yes, that’s going to happen in the future. I also made a small weblog Paul Fusco, available at (Dead link: www.bitterfruit.com) . It’s mostly an experiment to show the photographers what you can do with blogs.

How did you come in contact with Stephan Knuesel who designed flash site Magnum In Motion?
I heard about Stephan through a Danish acquaintance who has worked with him. Stephan is a little unique because he actually works half the time as cinematographer (he has just completed some new American ninja movies in best Tarantino style). The other half of the time he doing hardcore programming (actually it is far me who is responsible for designing and Stefan have got things moving, etc.).

Why does it have to be programmed in Flash?
We would like to create a site that is very dynamic, and integrates all existing forms of media (photos, audio, video and text) in a multimedia narrative form. Flash is the only tool that can really handle this job. But we are considering if everything should be built in Flash, or whether it should be only items on the site. It is a major technical analysis, we spend a lot of time and energy on at the moment.

It sounds like that is very technical and very little journalism?
In the start up phase I use about 90 percent of my time on technique. It is to establish a platform where technique is just a tool that works and makes it easy to create journalism. The plan is that when the technical platform is in place, we can use 90 percent of the time on journalism.

Can you say something about the narrative of the productions?
It is a longer elucidation. Buy my book The Digital Storyteller , and make my bank manager happy… Very simplified you can say that it starts with the fact that we develop ideas and take a look in the archives. Then we make a thorough archival search. So we spend a lot of time storyboarding, including how the story should be put together technically and graphically. Then we make interviews with sources, find music and other audio. Finally, we gather it all in flash. During the entire process we adjust the story.

When images are displayed side by side, the viewer makes a direct connection between the two images, there is a characteristic of comic books and photo books. But when pictures appear one after another (typically for websites / TV) noise is a void. Is this not a problem?
I have never really thought about it. But it is in fact an interesting consideration. I will now describe it as a problem but as an alternative. It’s two different ways to tell a story. Noise can be interesting and very telling. Like, for example, silence can be a strong effect in a radio program. There also arises a form of noise when you put many photos next to each other (as, incidentally, you also can do on a computer screen). One of the interesting things about putting individual stills into a linear story like video images is that still photos still appears as a frozen moment. Thus you let the receiver fantasize about what happened before and after.

I have made this small project with Ilkka Uimonen that might illustrate it a little (dead link: www.magnumphotos.com/static/inmotion/ilkka/statue.html). It is not linear in the classic sense, but there is still a linearly course built into it. Yes, I think we will see much more of this, and we’re definitely moving towards changing the popular perception of a story with a linear trajectory. It is closely linked to the whole idea of ​​defining a new digital story telling.

Could you imagine that Magnum is going to make advertising photo features for / about business?
Easily. Even today, a large part of our survival based on advertising photos and other work for the companies. So it is natural to extend this to the internet. It is becoming an important marketing channel. But it will always be very distinct from our other work.

Who are your competitors?
Magnum’s biggest competitor as I see it is VII. But others may have other views. Regarding Magnum In Motion, we do not have any obvious competitors right now.

What stops the other large archive bureaus (Corbis / Getty) from doing the same as you?
They make more illustrative images. They do not come out of the same tradition of telling stories with their photos and make projects. In addition, I do not feel they have the same aura and personality about their photos. Now I speak generally, of course there are exceptions. Casper Dalhoff’s example by Corbis. They earn really good money on what they do, which is not the case for Magnum. So they probably do not have the same incentives to do so. But I think that they will try something similar to what we do along the way.

How would you describe the project to someone who is blind?
Oh my God, it’s not easy to be interviewed by a photographer…. I would probably say that it’s like when you hear a particular sound, or some music or smell something specific. So set time in emotions, create moods and form images in their head. This is also what our project is trying to do. But we also show our own pictures, and we adjust the pictures that the receiver forms inside their head.

Can you tell if there is an American style vs. European / Danish, and if there are, can they learn from each other?
Most of the photographers I work with over here are actually Europeans. Conversely, many lived for years in New York. So things are melting together a bit. It is not my impression that there really much difference. Mentality they strongly resemble the photographers and people I know in Denmark.

It’s not really what I think is the difference between Danish and American documentary photography, to but it bluntly! US Photography is much more about the history and indignation, but not necessarily great photography. Danish photography is nicer, but focus is more on form than content.
I agree. At least it has been in Denmark. But people like Henrik Saxgreen and Stig Stasig should be start to get more attention again. They stood for the more indignant, proselytizing form of photography (there are probably many others, but it is just them I recall). I would not want to scold the new generation of Danish photographers, and I feel myself as a part of the milieu on the journalistic side. Theses are good people. But I must say that I sometimes miss some more indignation and more thoughtful stories, and a bit less hype and chic sunglasses. Perhaps what I miss in is a little more recognition to those who do good and indignant photojournalism. For they are there after all. But we mostly hear of those who take beautiful photos.

What is a good picture and what is a good image according to Magnum?
I get total panic attacks every time someone asks me about something like that. I don’t know much about images and photography. I just like what they set off in my head and the way they can be used to tell stories. So it is in that direction. A documentary photo must have a mission. A message will convince the reader. It can be anything from “War destroys people” to “Consumption hysteria in the Western world has gone off the rails”. When you look at a picture it sets of some associations and imagination, which makes one wonder about photography’s message and mission. But really I do not care so much about talking about frames. I believe that documentary photography is most interesting when it creates a coherent story in a series of images. I look at this year’s photo from World Press, and think it’s just nice and emotional. But when the first impression settles, I am often a little unsure about what mission photographer the photographer is on. What does he want to tell? What injustice or justice, will he prove to the world? So, I would rather have an image that is badly composed and has exposure error, but with a mission and message. However, a very good image, of course, has both.

Martin Parr John E. Ramspott

Martin Parr. Photo: John E. Ramspott https://www.flickr.com/photos/burnaway/

I do not think there is a clear answer to what a good picture is according Magnum. There are about 50 active Magnum photographers, and it’s all very different personalities who have their own views on photography. You can also see this from the images coming from Magnum. They are actually very different. For example, try to compare Martin Parr and Larry Towell. To be quite honest, it’s not always the photographer who takes the best pictures that are with an agency as Magnum. It’s about being dedicated and again to have a mission. A few days ago I shared a pizza with Thomas Dworzak before he went back to Iraq. He said he was a little nervous because it’s so damn dangerous at the moment. Part of him would rather just stay in New York. But with such thinking important things in Iraq are not being documented. Thomas felt it is his obligation to document those events. That’s why he lives and breathes. So it may be that there are other photographers who take better pictures, but not in the same way.

Personally, I am surprised that a guy like Ladefoged is not in Magnum. I think he was the obvious choice, and there are probably many others in Magnum who feel the same way. Also among the photographers. Ultimately, however, there was apparently more than fifty percent of the photographers, who have not have shared this view.

Ladefoged became part of VII. I do not know what kind of pictures he presented to Magnum, but if it has been the fashion week in Paris and bodybuilder pictures, then I think that many have thought what the f @ * k, it’s a completely different style from what he had in the past. The subject (vanity) is the exciting enough and the man knows how to shoot.
Yes, as I said, I can only guess what happened. It should not be the choice of topic. Many of Magnum photographers are doing a lot of different things, from fashion and sports to war and misery.

How are the photographers?
As mentioned, they are all unique personalities. But I have been received extremely well by everyone. There is nobody who feels superior to others. This does not mean that you can not have some intense academic discussions. But there is mutual respect. Everyone fights for the same cause, and everyone wants to inspire and help each other.

Can they divided them up into groups?

Alex Webb

Alex Webb. Photo: John Ramspott https://www.flickr.com/photos/jramspott/

There are three groups. The old pioneers who have worked with Capa and Cartier-Bresson. People like Elliott Erwitt and Philip Jones Griffiths. They are older but very energetic people who have nothing to prove, and takes it quite easy. They can give some great advice because they have tried everything. Then there is the group of people like Susan Meiselas, Alex Webb and Larry Towell. They have made great projects but still have time for a lot and create stability in Magnum. Then there are the new and young. People like Thomas Dworzak, Paolo Pellegrin and Alex Majoli. They still need to prove them selves, and are in constant pursuit of new projects and stories. They are super inspiring enthusiasts that can create a lot of ideas and amazing thoughts.

Do you even like photography?
Photography is fantastic. I love it. It makes my brain thinks visually, and love what images can do. But it is only part of the spectrum. Right now, my job is very centered around photography. However, I published a book in the spring (The Digital Storyteller), and I could well imagine that at one point I dedicate time to write again. But I have also thought about making a documentary. So for me it’s mostly about telling stories.

Who is your favorite photographer?

Eugene Richards

Eugene Richards. Photo: Burn Away https://www.flickr.com/photos/burnaway/

Panic attack again. I would love to get a week’s time to go real deep in Magnum’s archives. But I have not had the time yet. So it’s a bit patchy for me. Bresson is probably still the champion. I really like Larry Towell and Eugene Richards. But their work, I also know better than others, because I’m about to do projects with them. I made my thesis with Peter Hove Olesen, and if I look at it a little more holistically, he must be my favorite. I think he takes some great pictures (though I think he ought to dedicate some time to a longer project) and he’s a damn good friend and a fine fellow.

But I’ve never been the type of person who choses a favorite one-or-other. I can listen to Radiohead intensely for three weeks and then switch to Miles Davis and go crazy with him for a month. I feel the same with photography.

Since Magnum in Motion is not something that you plan to retire from. How long do you expect to stay?
I like to come up with ideas and concepts and develop them. That is what I am really good at. But when things are up and running, then I’m not the best man anymore. As long as there are new development at Magnum and I have fair working conditions, I would like to stay here. As mentioned the spirit of Magnum fits perfect for my mentality. But I can not really put a number of years on. I think at least it’s going to take a few years before Magnum In Motion is up and running. So unless something happens drastically before then, it is probably where you will find my for years to come.

How many Danish photographers called you to get a foothold in Magnum since you were hired?
I think around fifty. No, joking aside. Actually no-one has contacted me. Maybe they have too much polish, maybe they are too modest, or maybe they just do not bother with Magnum. Anyway, I have nothing great to say in this context. The photographers determine autocratically who should be included. But of course I can direct their attention to the interesting Danish photographers, which I have done in one case. It is, after all, easier than getting hired off the street. But one is not “nominee” without taking great pictures and without burning for a cause.

What is your attitude towards journalists also photographing?
Just as I think photographers should think of stories, I also think journalists need to think visually. Optimally, I believe that one should see oneself as a storyteller, than as a photographer or journalist. If you as a journalist can take pictures that are just as good as the photographers, I do not see major problems with it. But having said that, I think that one is forced to choose one of the roles in the day to day work. You can not be a photographing journalist and deliver the same quality. I do not believe that. There is a reason that the good photographers have spent years dedicating themselves one hundred percent to photography. Just like the good writers dedicate themselves to writing.

The work in the field can not be conducted in a double role. Few people can grasp both to interview well and take good pictures (unless you are using twice as long, and so one can just as well be two to the task).

But I’m talking about now, if you want to make documentaries of high quality. There are of course exceptions where photographer journalists or journalistic photographers can be an excellent idea. In a news situation where you accidentally find themselves in the right place. Or in a situation where you can only get access as one person.
Or the small local media where the alternative would be to completely drop using photos.

What is your affiliation with USA / New York.
From when I was about 13 until I was about 20 years old I was into the hip hip culture intensively. Today it’s become mainstream, but back then, I was considered an outsider when was a hip hopper in North Zealand. I was most interested in the New York tradition of bands like RUN DMC, Public Enemy, Jungle Brothers and De La Soul. So that was probably when my love for New York started. When I was 15 I was with my family in New York and I loved it, although I was a little scared. I got my dad to stop our rented car in a total bad-ass-hood in the South Bronx, because I saw a big thick necklace in imitation gold. I had to have it. I jumped out of the car, paid for the chain, and jumped in again. My parents were about to shit his pants. But I was happy because I had been wanting one of those gold chains since all the rappers on my records wore one. When I came home after the vacation, all my school friends thought that it was a bit strange that I ran round with a thick gold chain. I have been to New York about once a year since I was 16.