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Michael Coyne

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Best Equipment To Travel With

Posted by Michael Coyne on 03/07/2018 6:10:00 PM

I was recently on the road for two months, flitting from country to country. Sounds good doesn’t it! But I was working; this was no holiday.

Travelling on a trip like this takes a lot of preparation, organization and research. Not only do you have to think about where you are going to stay but also how to travel to places that are some distance from the cities. Often there are language and cultural challenges that also have to be taken into consideration. Sometimes, of course, cross-cultural moments can be interesting, even a little curious. In our Turkish village the afternoon call to prayer from the local mosque seemed to coincide with the playing of a Verdi opera by our hotel proprietor. Oh well, it is said that Turkey is the crossroads between Europe and Asia after all.

Of course, from a photographer’s perspective there is the issue of how much and what equipment you should you travel with. As a young man I assisted a National Geographic photographer who travelled with a suitcase full of film. This caused no end of issues when going through customs and x-ray machines. I have also had problems in the past with custom officers who when confronted with my boxes and bags of equipment, demanded a briefcase full of money as a “deposit”, but with no receipt.

No longer am I travelling with suitcases full of film. That approach, along with its issues, has been replaced with all the paraphernalia that feeds the digital capturing world.  I take a laptop so I can download the images and video footage every night. The images are then transferred across to two spare hard drives. Nothing is deleted from the memory cards until the images/videos are in at least two places.

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Topics: Highlight

What is Photojournalism?

Posted by Michael Coyne on 06/06/2018 4:38:49 PM

Photojournalism is, as the name suggests, photographic reportage. It is the visual reporting of current events for publication in newspapers, magazines and on the Internet. It is about telling a story with one image or a series of photographs, usually accompanied by text. The photographer’s brief: the photograph(s) must capture and reflect a person, place or event as presented. Photojournalists must take responsibility for conveying the subject matter of their images factually.

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Topics: Latest Blogs

Diversity In Photojournalism is Important

Posted by Michael Coyne on 25/05/2018 11:39:08 AM


On a recent assignment in Asia I shot still images, produced video clips and recorded sound bites from the location to be used as a soundscape for a sequence of images.

Technology has rapidly changed the way we think and work as photojournalists. To continue working in this genre many photojournalists have diversified, added extra skills and become multimedia experts. They have learnt to shoot videos, acquired interview skills and been taught how to write articles. All of this helps the photographer to have more control over projects and offer extra value to a media organisation. After all, when you pitch for an assignment you need to offer something that sets you apart from your competitors.

A number of photojournalists and documentary photographers are struggling to earn a decent living and yet they are still not willing to embrace the changes happening around them.

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Topics: documentary photography, bachelor degree, Mentoring, Dr Michael Coyne, Photojournalist, Photography expeditions

Light to Get it Right

Posted by Michael Coyne on 18/04/2018 12:42:03 PM

The Chilean piper played patiently while we waited for the light to be in the right place. I had allowed an extra  day on this assignment to research the location and determine the best time to make the image.

I arrived a lot earlier than I needed too, a habit I acquired early in my career from watching other photographers  at work. As a young man I assisted a National Geographic Photographer on a project. He asked me to get to the location early in the morning and I thought I had but he was already at there when I arrived, planning and preparing. By the time the talent arrived and the sun was rising, the photographer had everything in place        and was ready to shoot the image.

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Topics: documentary photography, Travel Photography, Photography Tips, Mentoring, Dr Michael Coyne, photojounalism, Fuji Cameras

Documentary Photography Can Be A Force for Good

Posted by Michael Coyne on 04/04/2018 2:08:24 PM

The smoke was slowly spiralling from the woman’s ear as the surgeon leaned over to complete her work. 

The doctor was performing a middle ear operation for a patient on The Lifeline Express, a train that has been converted into a travelling hospital. The train journeys across India to poor, remote villages, and the medical staff from India and overseas donate their services for free. On this occasion, we were parked at the Wardha railway station in the state of Maharashtra while the medical staff performed surgery and provided treatment for polio, cleft palates, middle ear infections, cataracts and dental conditions. 

Documentary photographers are often accused of focussing on the negative side of life, only taking pictures of dead bodies, conflict and misery. One critic claimed that some photographers climb over loving couples, cooing babies and contented grandparents in order to shoot the only negative aspect of an event. To a certain extent the critics are right but I don’t believe this is always the truth. 

For instance, in my project about Village Life, I am trying to look not only for the challenges facing rural communities but also the joy, rewards and life enhancing moments that can be found in villages.

Recently, I was in Italy photographing Italo Mondovecchio, a farmer from Tuscany. “Can I get my chicken?” Italo asked. He returned from the shed tenderly holding a beautiful looking bird. I lifted the camera to take the portrait and immediately Italo burst into song serenading, with gusto, his best friend, the rooster.

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Topics: documentary photography, photojournalism, michael coyne, Mentoring

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