The Iconic Photographers

Joe Rosenthal

Recently I wrote what was likely one of my most popular posts that showcases some of the most iconic photographs I’ve seen of all time. In the comments, several people mentioned that the article would be more complete if I also included details on the photographers. So, with that in mind, I thought it would be appropriate to take some time to acknowledge the iconic photographers that made these amazing photographs.

The Flag Raising at Iwo Jima

Taken by photographer Joe Rosenthal.

His Pulitzer Prize for the photo was only part of his story. The part that is perhaps more striking is that he tried to become an Army photographer to serve his country, but was turned away.  Undeterred, he joined the Associated Press and made his way to the Pacific Theater. There he went on to document the events in that capacity.  He went on in his photographic career to work as the chief photographer and manager of Times Wide World Photos as well as a lengthy career of 35 years for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Joe Rosenthal

He received numerous citations and awards as a result of his efforts at Iwo Jima.  The photograh was used as the inspiration for the Iwo Jima Memorial, was used in a postage stamp and is also featured at the Marine Recruiting Center in SC.

Omayra Sanchez

Taken by French Photographer Frank Fournier.

Fournier originally studied medicine, following in the footsteps of his father. He ultimately switched to photography for Contact press Images.  His full bio and some sample images of his are on display over at their website.  His humanitarian efforts in photography have been most impressive, and are worthy of mention here as well.  I’d include his photo, but since it has copyright identification, and is not clearly identified for GNU licensing, will simply point anyone interested in his profile over at Contact Press.

Kennedy Salute

Taken by Stan Stearns

Stearns took this photograph while serving as a photographer for Stars and Stripes, and later for UPI.  He passed away recently and an obituary was written up in the New York Times. It showcases some of his more recent works.  The write-up itself involves a very interesting story surrounding the photo and is something of a controversy of its own.  He also has an archive of images over at Corbis. Again, to respect copyright, his image has not been included here.

Tank Man- was taken by Jeff Widener.  Born in the U.S., Widener is most well-known for his photo of the lone student protesting in Tianamen Square during the Bejing Riots.  He’s worked as an AP Picture Editor on a number of impressive assignments, and continues his photographic endeavors from Hamburg Germany.  He has received several awards, has lectured and also been the subject of a number of interviews, and these are all well-documented in his Wikipedia Page, which includes a portrait photo, shown below.  You can also check out his online presence and portfolio from his own website here.

Jeff Widener

 VJ Day in Times Square

Taken by noted photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt.

Eisenstaedt is probably one of the most pre-eminent photographers whose photos were showcased recently.  His career spanned 43 years, including 90 covers on Life Magazine.  His documentary efforts include many notable images, including the VJ Day photograph. He is probably one of the most widely recognized candid photographers of our century.  There are several references to Alfreds’ work and contributions ranging from his Wikipedia page, his M Gallery Biography, and a selection of his prints are available from The Monroe Gallery as well.  If you really want to know the man behind the photos, you should consider his book (available on Amazon here):  Eisenstaedt on Eisenstaedt: A Self Portrait.

Alfred Eisenstaedt

There you have it! A more in-depth look at some of the photographers behind the Ten Most Iconic Photographs of All Time.  Thanks for stopping by the blog this week.  Safe travels for those who must journey back after their own holiday trips.  Keep on shooting, and remember the shoulders of those we stand upon.  Endeavor to honor them by taking and making the best photographs you can!

The Ins And Outs Of The Affordable Care Act For Freelance Photographers


Editor note:  I received this article from Michael a while back and have been in a bit of turmoil about it.  The subject is a contentious one, and different views, stories, and perspectives abound.  I almost didn’t publish it.  But, since I am all about education, and the crux of this article speaks to educating yourself as a photographer about the issue of medical insurance in your profession, decided to approve it.  Some of this I agree with, some I do not.  I personally think that the ACA is ultimately legislation designed at controlling the population, and really has very little to do with healthcare.  That being said, judge for yourself, and thanks to Michael for his thoughts here…

Health insurance could be called the silver bullet in the life of the freelance photographer. When all seems to be going swimmingly and work is in abundance, you remember this one thorn in your side. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) looks to be making some big changes to the system. Some of these changes stand to benefit freelancers, while others may have a negative impact. To learn about this sweeping piece legislation and how it will affect you, read on.


Ten Benefits For Every Plan

The essential health benefits are ten categories of medical benefits that under the ACA every single health insurance plan out there will need to cover. Whether the premium is two or five thousand, they will have the benefits listed here. The benefits have names like ‘preventive services’ and ‘maternity care’, but the individual medical services that fall under these broad titles aren’t actually defined by the ACA.

Instead the federal government opted to let each state decide what the essential benefits within its borders will be. This decision has an up and a downside of course. It allowed states to lean towards specific medical treatments that their residents want or need, but on the other hand this decision has created significant disparities in the level of mandated medical care among states under the ACA.

ObamaCare Graphic

The Individual Mandate

The individual mandate, that everyone by law has to have health insurance, is a controversial aspect of the ACA. If you do not have health insurance, you will be charged a penalty. The penalty per person starts out at $95 or 1% of your income in 2014, goes up to $325 or 2% of your income in 2015 and rises yet again to $695 or 2.5% of your income in 2016. In the years following that the penalty will be tied to inflation or it will be 2.5% of your income.

The penalty is designed to be any higher than the national average of the annual premium of a bronze plan on the marketplace. Given this, it seems clearly designed to make it more cost effective to have a cheap insurance plan than no insurance at all.

This part of the ACA certainly raises questions though. While the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate, that doesn’t make it just. It takes a certain amount of autonomy away from citizens. For those who are already covered, this may not be a big deal, but for people who have been getting by on good health and good luck, this could be a frustrating part of the ACA.

Ask Yourself A Few Questions

Hearing about the essential health benefits may have warmed you up to looking at a plan, even if the individual mandate is not your cup of tea. When choosing a plan you’ve got to know before-hand what you are looking for. What is the absolute most you can realistically spend on healthcare? What is the amount of money that you would rather not go over? Be honest. Things like pre-existing condition, number of family members and more can make a big difference in the cost that you can expect to pay. Sometime you just can’t beat old fashioned pen and paper for brainstorming.

Start Looking At Plans

For residents of most states the currently dreaded and glitchy, federal exchange at will be the place to go for purchasing health insurance under the ACA. Some states are running their own exchange, and you can find out if your state is one of those by looking at the the Kaiser Family Foundation’s list here.

All the exchanges plans are named according to the cost of their premiums and the amount of coverage they are going to give you. Platinum gives you the highest premiums and the most coverage, and bronze the lowest. Silver and gold plans fit into a space in between those two, rounding out your options.

Of course you’re not required to purchase a health insurance plan only at the exchanges. There are a number of big name insurance companies selling plans off the exchanges. The big attraction for exchange plans are the built in tax credits (described below) for those with qualifying incomes. If you make too much money for a tax credit it might be a good idea to look off the exchange to satisfy your health insurance needs.

Find Out If You Can Save

If none of that piqued your interest, this should: tax credits. People who make between 100 percent and 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Line can get a hefty tax credit on their health insurance plan purchased at the exchange. The actual amount of your tax credit depends on a pretty wide range of things, your income being only one part of it. The Kaiser Family Foundation’s subsidy calculator should help you determine a ballpark figure for budgeting purposes.

There is an unfortunate flip side to this. What if your annual income is more than 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Line? Some people have reported that premiums for their current health insurance have risen significantly, or their plans are being cancelled outright because they don’t meet the new standards of the ACA. In cases like this it’s worth investigating what sort of health insurance offerings are available to you off of the exchange.

Stay Savvy

While the ACA came with the promise of affordable healthcare for all, things don’t seem to be panning out so perfectly. For some, things will get better and for many others it will be worse. That being said though, it is a fact of life (for the moment at least) and hopefully you’re feeling more informed and confident about the law.  However, don’t stop learning about the ACA now. Keep getting all the information you can about it. You might even consider talking with a licensed insurance broker. They are a great help when it comes to picking a plan. With all that, you should be starting to feel prepared so you can go out there and take action.

Michael Cahill is the Editor of the Vista Health Solutions Blog. He writes about the health care system, health insurance industry and the Affordable Care Act. Follow him on Twitter at @VistaHealthMike

Cleaning Your Sensor (revisited)


In the world of blogging, content is king, and while I love creating new content for the blog – sometimes the well does run dry.  I have tried to ensure that when I do post, it’s worthy of your time, but today, I am re-visiting a blog post that I wrote a while ago on cleaning your sensors.  It’s as useful today as it was originally, so in the interests of sharing the best bits of knowledge, here’s the original – reposted:

As with most things, your camera needs maintenance too – and I’ve waxed here periodically about establishing a maintenance schedule, cleaning schedules, and the whole schmear – but I’ve never addressed the specifics of cleaning that most important piece of equipment – the sensor in your camera.  As I dive in here, it bears mentioning that I am not advocating any one of these over another – just sort of laying the foundation on the various ways that are available:

1.  Having someone else do it – Most camera stores offer this service for around $50, so if the idea of getting anything near your sensor just gives you the heebie-jeebies, by all means, this option is a good one for the nervous Nelly.

2.  Air Blowers – These are rapidly becoming one of the more popular options as they are relatively cheap, easy, and don’t require messing around with chemicals.  You simply put your camera into the cleaning mode, insert tip of the air blower near the sensor and puff it a few times remove and you are done.  Some claim fantastic results with these while others say stubborn dust won’t come off from this method.  The advantage of this approach is that you never have to touch your sensor (technically the filter in front of the sensor) with anything!  The downside is that results may not get everything off.

Air Blower Method

Giottos Rocket Blower

3.  Sensor swipes – Certain swipes are made just for camera sensors that use hydrostatic charges to remove dust from your sensor.  It’s got an advantage in that it’s a dry cleaning approach so requires no chemicals.  I have heard of some who are reluctant to use this as foreign fibers and materials can get in the swipe which could scratch your sensor.


4.  Chemical cleaning – Pec Pads, Eclipse alcohol and sensor swipes all combine in this method to give the most thorough cleaning, virtually guaranteed to remove even the most stubborn dirt from your sensor.  The risk – doing it wrong can permanently damage your sensor and the cost of buy-in is a lot higher than other methods.  Once you buy-in though, the long term cost drops rapidly!


Since I only mentioned it briefly at the beginning, I should also clarify that the idea behind cleaning your sensor is actually a misnomer – all of these solutions are cleaning the filter in front of the sensor – the sensor technically never gets cleaned unless you use option 1 – sending it in for a cleaning.  All the camera vendors (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, etc.) offer this service, but the downside there is multi-faceted in that it’s usually more expensive, you have to go without your camera for a period of time, and there’s shipping involved!

What methods do you use?  I know some people that combine multiple approaches, while others simply just shake it out once and a while (heck, I read a story once of a guy that used his t-shirt! – not sure how valid it is, but you get the gist).  Sound off in the comments with your own cleaning products and approaches!