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Heated debate at first PPY Expo

There was heated debate during the first Press Photographer’s Year Expo on the the lack of financial support for photographers working in multimedia.

There was heated debate at the first Press Photographer’s Year Expo held at the Lyttleton Theatre on London’s South Bank on Friday when The Guardian’s Dan Chung admitted during his multi-media presentation “nobody has worked out how we are going to pay for it all”. Dan went on to explain that although more money is spent by advertisers on the web than on newspapers the huge spread meant financial support for creative work is diluted to the extent that it has little significance.

The day began with a presentation by Brian Harris which demonstrated how compelling the traditional printed picture on a page still is. Harris showed tear sheets from his time at The Independent when a team of staff photographers produced black and white work that raised the profile of press photography to a new level. The audience were told that the daughter of Bill Brandt was moved to write to The Independent praising Harris’s work.

The Guardian’s Sean Smith, winner of the PPY Photograph of the Year Award for the second year running, showed the commitment needed to get powerful images from the Iraq conflict, but admitted press photography had had a tough time over the last few years. Smith added that he found producing moving and still images at the same time reduced the effectiveness of his work.

Like those of Brian Harris, the photographs of Tom Stoddart proved how potent black and white images can be in an image saturated world. “You are shooting not for tomorrow but for the next twenty years” said Stoddart who still shoots film on Leica and Rolliflex. However, more than ever it is vital to understand the industry you are supplying*.

The Expo followed the opening of the PPY 2007 exhibition in the Lyttelton Circle Foyer and was supported by Canon UK who brought their Pro Division team along to give professionals a look at Canon’s latest products. An after-show forum over drinks – which provided an opportunity for audience and speakers to debate issues further – was credited as a stimulating bonus to the day.

The Press Photographer’s Year 2007 Exhibition continues in the Lyttelton Circle Foyer at the National Theatre on London’s South Bank until 28th July 2007.

Assignments 2 – The Press Photographer’s Year the 128 page softback book with 133 stunning photographs is available for £17.50 inc UK P&P from the PPY web site .

*After the success of the Press Photographer’s Year Expo it was sobering to see Stoddart’s stills used with effect throughout the C4 TV documentary The Rise and Fall of Tony Blair credited to Getty Images only.

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