I PROTEST!

“I’m just a veteran combat photographer and foreign correspondent who cares intensely about my country and the role we are playing – and assigning to ourselves – in the world of today. And I want to shout a loud and clear protest at what has happened at Khe Sanh, and in all of Vietnam.” I PROTEST! KHE SANH, VIETNAM David Douglas Duncan’s impassioned plea for sanity in a disastrous war.

I had the honour of meeting David Douglas Duncan some years back, just long enough to shake his hand and explain to him how much his work had influenced me. Revisiting ‘I Protest!’, this small book with the powerful message, I was struck by how little our world has changed. Different wars, same insanity. My mind started to wander, reflecting on the kind of world my five year old son Luc might inherit. I have only recently started introducing him to the work that I do – shown him some photographs. I can tell when he’s moved, the look in his eyes — the questions he asks. I’m proud that he cares. I want to keep on contributing, in some small way, to help guarantee my boy’s world is better informed. The only just war is the war on ignorance.

Henri Cartier-Bresson – The Decisive Moment

In 2010 I finally tracked down relatively affordable copies of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s landmark books ‘The Decisive Moment’ and ‘Les Européens’. (At left is a photograph of my copy of ‘The Decisive Moment’, fragile, yet treasured). A friend of mine, photographer Brad Rimmer, emailed me a 1953 review of the book revived on American Suburb X.

The original review was published in Image Magazine, Journal of Photography of the George Eastman House, April, 1953.

RØDE VideoMic Pro, Que Audio and F-Stop Camera Packs

Rode VideoMic Pro

‘Nothing has the emotive power of a great still photograph — although these days it had better move when you click on it, and offer something memorable to listen to’

I have just added the RØDE VideoMic Pro to my kit, as my new go to hot-shoe mic. Plugging into a Nikon D3s and D7000, the sweet spot seems to be with mic On (flat) at 0 dB, and the Nikon’s audio settings at either low or medium, depending on where the subject is. This is a great sounding mic, offering good, clean audio, straight from the camera. I also prefer the size and build of this mic to that of its predecessor. You’ve got to give it to Rode — they’ve obviously been listening.

While still on the subject of audio, I’ve also been trialing another Aussie mic manufacturers product, Da-Cappo’s Que-Audio Video/DSLR kit. The kit’s mic is tiny, yet solid — beautifully made. (I’m guessing it was originally designed to satisfy the needs of dedicated sound recordists wanting to travel light). Although it does make a sweet sounding hot-shoe mic, it excels on the end of a boom, using the XLR adapter into an external recorder like the Zoom H4n. A gem of a mic, especially for its size.

A big issue, when trying to get your head around multimedia, is the extra gear you have to lug around. The other day I received an email from Ben Walton at Team Digital, telling me they were now stocking F-Stop camera packs. I’d heard of them, thanks to an excellent review by photographer Dan Carr, so it was great to read they were now in Australia. The pack I went with, the Tilopa, is a rugged 3-day backpack, with a fully adjustable harness, specifically designed for photographers. The heart of the system is what hooked me, a choice of ICU’s (Internal Camera Units), rigid padded boxes of different sizes. I like it.