Nuts & Bolts
March 2009

by Bill Pierce

It's about time to update the "bookmarks" column.

In addition to several news sites, I usually start the day by checking into The Online Photographer, or TOP, perhaps the most eclectic photo site on the Web.

Among the things I learned recently from TOP was that film mini-labs helped to support many camera stores whose profit margins on equipment were low – and how, as mini labs, film and 24 or 36 prints per roll slowly disappeared, the Ritz Camera chain could actually say digital photography hurt its business as it filed for bankruptcy.

I was referred to a New York Times article that I had missed that said Annie Leibovitz borrowed $15.5 million from Art Capital Group last year, collateralizing not only property and other items but the rights to all of her photographs. And I was referred to the NPR Web site where I could listen to interviews with Shepard Fairey, Mannie Garcia and a lawyer who is an expert of "fair use" discuss Fairey's Obama poster based on Garcia's photograph. All this, plus Mike Johnston's reflections on Wisconsin winter and much more on just one AM Webstop.

By the way, if you are interested in "fair use" and/or the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, I know of no better primer than, a FAQ from the Chilling Effects Clearing House.

If you would like to download a PDF of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act you will find it at Including a copy of the Act in correspondence with a Web site that has stolen one of your pictures may scare the hell out of them. It will certainly use up their time and/or computer space.

Basic copyright information and, most important, instruction on how to copyright your pictures is at

To my mind, the best source for general information on copyright for photojournalists is at the Editorial Photographers Web site, specifically

And, to further digress, I was pleased to see that my Canon 5D Mark II can be set to automatically embed my copyright into the metadata of my images just as some photo software like Adobe Lightroom. However, it should be pointed out that none of this is a substitute for registering your pictures with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Whew! That was a bit of a digression.

Next stop on my morning coffee tour is usually the Luminous Landscape Ostensibly a Web site devoted to the art of landscape, nature and documentary photography, it is the most useful site I have come across dealing with the craft of photography. For example, on one day two new articles appeared. One was by Alain Briot on shooting blurred landscapes. Sounds silly, doesn't it? Now, just put aside that thought and learn from some exceptionally beautiful photographs. And on the opposite side of the Luminous Landscape coin, a link to Diglloyd's article on optimizing Photoshop on the Mac Pro and MacBook Pro.

Wilhelm Imaging Research has just posted HP Designjet Z3200, Epson Stylus R2880 and Epson 7900 ratings for those who would like to know how long prints from these printers will last under a variety of conditions and with a variety of paper stocks. Perhaps more important, the Web site is always updating and expanding their information on many printers. For those of you who haven't checked in for a while and do a lot of black-and-white work, you may find the review of your printer now contains information on not only color prints, but black-and-white prints as well.

Charlie Rose interviews Henri Cartier-Bresson with some added comments by Rose's friend, Richard Avedon This interview takes about an hour. You may wish it was longer.

Ken Jarecke has a Web site He has a blog, Mostly True, that he sometimes neglects because he travels a lot. If you are a student and want to see what a really good news photographer can do, I think this is one of the sites you should visit. It's all there with one important exception.

I first met Ken 20 years ago. He was the hot new kid, and I was the grouchy old person. Our paths crossed a lot when he was working in NYC on a Time magazine story that would run nine pages in black-and-white, "The Rotting of the Big Apple." A year later I used to get occasional calls while he was covering the first Gulf War. On the last call he talked about his group, lost at night in the desert, walking on to a Kuwait highway at dawn to find a large group of Iraqi soldiers napalmed, perfectly preserved in ash. American editors turned the pictures down. Harold Evans, then editor of the London Times, described them as the best and most important pictures of the war. The first time I saw any of the pictures published, I was walking in Greenwich Village and saw one of them appropriated as a poster by an English rock group. One of the pictures finally appeared in Time's year-end issue close to the time it won the Leica Medal of Excellence. But this group of exceptional pictures does not appear on his Web site.

I point this out simply because I have always wondered why so many good photographers who cover wars have very mixed feelings about their pictures. Perhaps it's guilt. Perhaps it's because no picture can come close to representing the event. I don't know. But, at least for my few friends and even more acquaintances who have made these pictures, it is true without exception.

And now, on a jollier note, the monthly "picture that has nothing to do with the column," an SDS demonstration at Princeton University.

More of Bill Pierce's pictures can be seen on the Web at

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© Bill Pierce
Contributing Writer

More of Bill Pierce's pictures can be seen on the Web at