Tamrac 1/3 page
© Lu Guan G/Greenpeace
3-3/8 x 11-1/2
A man attempts to rescue two firefighters after an oil pipeline blast in China. The image was part of the third place Spot
News Stories winner at World Press Photo in 2011.
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16 PDN | May 2012 |
pdnonline.com Tamrac, Inc. 9240 Jordan Ave. Chatsworth, California 91311 ©2011 Tamrac, Inc. Patented
target, or anything like that. It’s still “stick to your creativity in photography.” Take whaling, for instance.
A photographer might be on a ship for two months,
with a crew out to hassle whalers. The brief would be
to show life on board. It could be about day-to-day activities, but we also [ask the photographer] to send out
hard news pictures.
Bleed top, bottom
and outside edge.
PDN: A two-month assignment? They’re that long?
JN: That’s not typical. They’re all very different. I’m
with Greenpeace International, so we work in remote
locations. Assignments can be two or three weeks.
Then there are Greenpeace offices in various countries. Their assignments tend to be much shorter—a
day or two.
PDN: How do you source photographers for those
JN: We don’t work with agencies because the rights are
complicated, so we like to work with independent pho-
tographers. We select geographically, and by skills. The
people we’re talking about know how they can get their
own pictures that we will like and the media will like.
PDN: How do you find photographers?
JN: We have various campaigns—climate, oceans, toxics, forests—and I have a good database of photographers who know [those] subjects. For the nuclear
campaign, the database includes photographers who
have done that work before. It can be dangerous, so
you don’t go in willy-nilly. In Fukushima, for instance,
we hired Robert Knoth, a Dutch photographer who has
done a lot of work in Chernobyl.
PDN: What gets you to take a chance on new
JN: Often people come through the national offices,
doing smaller scale stuff, and we’ll try them out for a
couple of weeks on a Greenpeace ship.
PDN: Do a lot of photographers approach you for work?
JN: Things are really changing. When I go to [the photo
festival] Visa pour l’Image in Perpignan, France, there are
queues of photographers and agents who want to see
me. There’s this realization that NGOs have resources.
PDN: Does it have to do with magazine assignments
PDN: How so?
JN: Absolutely. Photographers used to be snobby about
working with NGOs. That almost doesn’t exist anymore.
Most would be quite happy to be commissioned by an
NGO. But it takes a different mindset.
JN: You’re working as part of a team, and the whole
focus is on the Greenpeace story. Some photographers
feel imprisoned by that. We’ve hired high profile photographers, and it has gone wrong because of that; they
say, “I produce my stories, nobody tells me what to do.”
PDN: And you’re asking for what instead?
JN: When you’re covering an earthquake as a journalist, off you go, at your own freedom. But with
Greenpeace, the brief is much tighter. In Fukushima,
it was about the Greenpeace team monitoring radioactivity. Having said that, there are certain jobs
that are much freer. For a series we did on climate
impacts, we explored desertification on the Tibetan
plateau with a team of scientists. That was more akin
PDN: You mentioned that you don’t work with
agencies because the rights are complicated. Can you