A Camel at Sunrise, and a Word About Picfair

Camel at Sunrise, Qatar

Camel at Sunrise, Qatar

No, this isn’t about my longing for my former days as a smoker.

It’s simply a picture of a camel, with its face partially covered, taken about an hour after sunrise in the desert of southern Qatar near the Khor al Adaid Inland Sea.

It’s an image I recently added to my stock image portfolio at Picfair, a newish agency I recently began working with after the behemoth Getty’s purchase of Demotix and Corbis –and subsequent burial of hundreds of my images there– left a big hole in my stock options.

Stock has never been a large income source for me, but even with minimal effort I was able to count on three or four sales a month through Corbis and Demotix, primarily for editorial use. That’s largely the licensing that Picfair makes available, a one-size fits all one-time use agreement that only bars advertising and merchandising usage.

The best thing about Picfair is that the photographers set the price; Picfair just adds a 20 percent handling fee on top of that. That certainly beats the pennies and nickels that most of the current larger crop of stock agencies can put in your pocket.

I have no idea what to expect, if anything, but they certainly seem to be worth a try. The company’s selection is small but growing, with plenty of high quality work to be found. I’ll keep adding to the portfolio despite my only fear: that one day they’ll succumb to an offer from Getty, rendering all the images invisible once again. The best we can hope for is that that day isn’t on the near horizon.

For the benefit of those who’d like to give Picfair a try, I’ll revisit this in a month or two to provide a better picture of my experience.

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The demise of Demotix and Corbis is also forcing the relocation of a few dozen photo essays. To give them a more permanent home I’ll be republishing them in my photo essays section so cleverly entitled, photoessays.bobramsak.com.

Eleven Minutes With Tori Bowie

Tori Bowie Doha 2016

Here are seven images of Tori Bowie, the 2015 US national champion and world championships bronze medalist in the 100m dash. Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, she’s one of the fastest women on the planet.

Cross-posted with my blog Piran Café

These were taken during an informal press conference in Doha, Qatar, last week ahead of track and field’s international Diamond League series opener, a competition I’ve covered most years since its inception in 2010. I sat in with Bowie and a couple other journalists for just over 11 minutes, thus the clever title of what I hope will grow into an occasional candid portrait project under the name, “Eleven Minutes With..” or, if time is more constrained, “Seven Minutes With…”. You get the idea.

It’s not a lot of time, but enough to get a general feel for the subject, to experience their different moods and reactions along with an introduction to who they are. It’s a challenge I like, especially so when the subject is as animated as Bowie.

Tori Bowie 2 - Doha May 2016

So, who is Tori Bowie?

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The 2016 Vodafone Istanbul Half Marathon – Summary and 41 Images

 

I just returned from Istanbul where I spent the weekend doing some media work for the organizers of last Sunday’s Vodafone Istanbul Half Marathon. It was the 11th edition of the event, but just the second that featured a professional elite field.

The men’s race was quite competitive, won by Ali Kaya of Turkey in 1:00:16, a new national record and European Under-23 record. He ran impressively to beat a solid field which included two world record holders: Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea, the world record holder over the half marathon distance, and Kenyan Leonard Komon, the world record holder at 10km and 15km.

Violah Jepchumba of Kenya was dominant in the women’s race, winning by more than a minute in 1:08:17.

In the specialist distance running and track & field media, the weekend was dominated by the London Marathon, one of the premiere 42.2km races in the world. Given that, we managed to attract some decent coverage. A sampling of stories that appeared via press releases I produced and distributed:

Previews:

Reports:

Ali Kaya and Leonard Langat at the 2016 Istanbul Half Marathon

Ali Kaya and Leonard Langat at the 2016 Istanbul Half Marathon

 

Image Gallery – 2016 Vodafone Istanbul Half Marathon

Below is an image gallery featuring 41 photos of the elite athletes that figured prominently in the race. I shot from a vehicle leading the men’s contest, so unfortunately there are very view images from the women’s.

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Photo Exhibit ‘National Parks: Taking Care of Nature’ Opens in Ljubljana – 18 Images

Visitors at National Geographic Anniversary exhibit in Tivoli Park Ljubljana

“National Parks: Taking Care of Nature”, a photo exhibition celebrating the national parks of the US and Slovenia through images taken by National Geographic photographers, opened yesterday in the Slovenian capital. Here are 18 images from the opening and the exhibit, enough to give you an idea without me pushing the bounds of copyright.

Nearly 100 images –half depicting scenes from national parks in the U.S. and half taken in Slovenia’s Triglav National Park– line the

Cross-posted from my blog, Piran Cafe.

Jakopič Promenade in Ljubljana’s sprawling central Tivoli park, a fitting setting for the theme. It’s definitely my favorite exhibit space in Ljubljana.

The exhibit, sponsored jointly by National Geographic, the City of Ljubljana and the U.S. Embassy, coincides with the U.S. National Park Services centenary, which is being celebrated this year, and the 10th anniversary of the Slovenian edition of National Geographic Magazine. The southern side of the promenade features images from U.S. Parks and the northern side from Slovenia. Each portion features works by 26 photographers.

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Several Hundred Rally Against ‘The Elite’ in Ljubljana – 11 Images and Notebook

Half Jansa Half Cerar posters at a protest in Ljubljana

There were two political gatherings in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana today.

The first, held this morning, was organized by Janez Janša, a former prime minister, and a coalition of right wing parties, who gathered to express their patriotism, to “defend Slovenia” and its values and rally against the government of Prime Minister Miro Cerar.

I didn’t attend that one.

Here are 11 images from the second which I did attend, an afternoon gathering of several hundred to rally against a host of grievances that include Slovenia’s growing poverty and unemployment, the exploitation of workers, the rise of racism and xenophobia, and the lack of opportunities for young people.

Music Cart leads marchers in a demonstration through the center of Ljubljana

Music Cart leads marchers in a demonstration through the center of Ljubljana

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How Ljubljana Became the 2016 European Green Capital

View of Ljubljana facing north from Castle Hill towards Kamnik Alps

 

[NOTE: This is an expanded version of my post, Ljubljana, Slovenia: The European Green Capital of 2016, that appeared last week on the popular travel blog Green Global Travel. Also cross-posted with my site Pirancafe.com.]

 

If you’re among the increasing number of people who are visiting the Slovenian capital Ljubljana these days, the loudest traffic you’ll likely hear in the heart of its old town center will be the clanging of a bicycle that’s traveling across the cobblestone of the central Preseren Square.

Or the laughter of school children as they’re guided by their teachers across the city’s landmark Art Nouveau Triple Bridge that spans the narrow Ljubljanica River that divides the old town center.

Or the chants of demonstrators voicing their grievances under the watchful eye of Slovenia’s national poet, the Romantic France Preseren whose name the square bears.

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Five Central and Southern European Mayors Meet in Ljubljana for Sustainability Round Table: Notebook and Images

Zoran Jankovic and Kadir Topbas

Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Jankovic with Kadir Topbas, Mayor of Istanbul

 

Mayors of five central and Southern European cities met for an informal round table meeting in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana on Thursday (March 10) to discuss ongoing efforts in their respective municipalities towards achieving urban sustainability. (See below for photo availability.)

Mayor of Ljubljana Zoran Jankovic hosted the event which was also attended by Mayor of Sofia, Bulgaria, Yordanka Fandakova, Mayor of Budapest Istvan Tarlos, Mayor of Istanbul Kadir Topbas, and Sinisa Mali, the Mayor of Belgrade. Violeta Bulc, the European Commissioner for Mobility and Transport, from Slovenia, and Erion Veliaj, the mayor of Tirana, Albania, also addressed the attendees.

Some scattered notes:

Topbas on the refugee and migrant crisis: “You must keep your doors open”

In one of the more interesting exchanges, Topbas, who has served as Istanbul’s mayor since 2004, strayed briefly from the main theme to address in broader terms Europe’s most recent response to the ongoing refugee crisis which has effectively sealed entry into the EU at the Greek-Macedonian border.

“You must keep your doors open,” Topbas said, speaking through an interpreter. “Refugees and migrants will always find a way. If one is closed, another will be opened. We have to solve this problem. If not, the planet will be facing even bigger problems.”

“It is the cities where most (migrant-related) problems arise,” he said, adding that Istanbul is hosting more than 500,000 of the estimated 2.7 million refugees that Turkey claims are now in the country.

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For International Women’s Day 2016, a Humble Tribute

 

Gender parity is the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, which is being celebrated around the world today, and officially by the United Nations for the 41st consecutive year.

Cross-posted from my blog, Piran Cafe.

More specifically, the theme is the demand to speed up progress on gender equality in order to meet the world body’s “Planet 50-50 by 2030” pledge, one which looks alarmingly out of reach in the next decade and a half.

Given the current rate of change, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2015 released last November, the gap at present won’t be closed for another 118 years.

Those findings were underscored in Women at Work: Trends 2016, a report released today by the UN’s International Labor Organization (ILO), which looked at data from 178 countries. It found that the rate of women’s participation in the workforce was 25.5% lower than men’s participation in 2015, a gap only 0.6% narrower than 20 years ago.

Lottery ticket vendors Quito - crop

That’s just one aspect of the gap, the more visible one those of us in the developed world can see, at least on paper if not in practice. Globally, and in more ‘real’ terms, the picture is much more bleak, underscoring that women simply can’t wait until 2133.

Women represent a staggering 70% of the world’s poor, shoulder a disproportionate brunt of their family’s responsibilities, and face an endless litany of injustice and discrimination that blocks or limits access to even their most basic needs.

Women produce half the world’s food, work two-thirds of the world’s working hours but take home just ten percent of the world’s income. One in five will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. One woman dies every minute giving birth. Too many are prevented from attending even primary school. Until those things change, nothing else will.

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