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Patrick Brown video on emphas.is. Publishing Project Now Funded. February 23, 2012

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Patrick Brown Endangered Species Emphas.is February 1, 2012

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Former Perth Photographer Patrick Brown is a stubborn man. Now based in Bangkok he has been working on his Endangered Species Series for many years. In 2006 he exhibited his work at Foto Freo in a monumental exhibition in Fremantle Prison. James Estrin from New York Times Lens has posted of his latest attempt to gain a book publishing deal. On the eve of Foto Freo 2012 it is Emphas.is, the crowd sourcing operation that has given him hope of finally achieving his goal. This gives  Australian photographers and the Australian public an opportunity  to support Patrick and his book ‘Trading to Extinction‘.
“Undeterred by beatings, police detentions or exotic illnesses, he has spent most of the past decade obsessively documenting the illegal trade of endangered species.
PBR0.59 600PBR000.384 600

Almost as great a task, however, has been trying to sell his project, “Trading in Extinction,” to book publishers on four continents. Many turned him down because of what they perceived as unpalatable subject matter. Others just demanded he pay for the privilege of being published.

“One publisher didn’t even want to see the work,” he said. “He just wanted to know if I had $30,000. I didn’t have it, because I spent my entire life savings producing this body of work.”’

The experience left him frustrated and demoralized — but still determined.

His luck changed when Emphas.is, the photography crowd-sourcing Web site, invited him to participate in its book publishing venture which began Monday. The photographers Peter Dench and William Daniels are also featured.

The founders of Emphas.is Publishing — Karim Ben Khelifa, Tina Ahrens, Walter Tjantele and Fanuel Dewever — are trying to fill a void for photographers trying to publish documentary and photojournalism projects.

“The publishing world today is not really sympathetic to photojournalists and probably with good reason,” Mr. Ben Khelifa said. “I think publishers do what they can, but photojournalism is a small niche. And that makes it hard for them to get the return.”” words by James Estrin


Patrick Brown/Panos Pictures A large bull elephant in Chitwan National Park with its leg chained. The 50-year-old animal was restrained after having killed five mahouts (handlers) in its lifetime.

The goal of Emphas.is Publishing is to help photographers produce books affordably while retaining full editorial and design control. Emphas.is will assist in financing, printing, shipping, warehousing, distribution and promotion.

All production costs will be raised in advance by pre-selling 100 limited-edition signed volumes, packaged with an archival photographic print, for $100. Larger prints and other services, like workshops, may also be used to defray production costs. Printed in Italy, a typical press run would be 1,000 copies. The remaining 900 books will also be pre-sold or made available through bookstores, social networks and the Emphas.is Web site.

Mr. Brown, who is represented by Panos Pictures and won a World Press Award in 2004, does not see himself as an animal activist. He wears leather shoes and enjoys a good steak. But the story of the exotic animal trade was not being told when he started a decade ago. The profits were enormous — for the smugglers, not for him — with rhinoceros horns selling for more per ounce than gold.

If enough people pre-order Mr. Brown’s book, he will have completed what he set out to do 10 years ago: expose the devastating effects of the trade on endangered animal species. Much more attention has been paid to the issue since he started, and he said he hopes that as enforcement increases, smugglers will look elsewhere.

“A smuggler is a smuggler,” Mr. Brown said. “He doesn’t care whether it’s half a tiger, guns or heroin. At the end of the day, it’s all about making a profit.”

Panos Pictures Call for Submissions November 25, 2010

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Panos Pictures today announced its first annual call for submissions, inviting photographers to apply to join the agency.

The deadline for submissions is 1st March 2011. Click here for full details on how to apply.

Adrian Evans, Director of Panos Pictures,  decided to send out the call and indicates what he hopes to see from applicants.

How has the recruitment process changed over the years?

‘It used to be fairly ad hoc. Before the web took over it wasn’t so easy to discover who was out there, especially outside the UK. Festivals like Perpignan had a far greater role to play in bringing photographers to our attention. Some of our best photographers actually walked in unannounced off the street. It was never something we encouraged but I would always see them just in case they had something special.’

Nowadays we are far more strategic about where we want to get to, but in saying that it is still possible to be surprised – I can still get the wow factor of discovering a photographer’s work for the first time.

On average we receive half a dozen enquiries a day from prospective photographers. It’s incredible. I thought photojournalism was supposed to be on its last legs! The problem is that it is time consuming dealing with so many enquiries and we don’t have time to give each the attention it deserves. An annual call makes the whole process much more transparent. The photographer knows when to apply and what it is that we are looking for and we are able to focus our energies on reviewing the submissions.’

What makes a photographer stand out to you?

‘Put bluntly someone who can explain why they take photographs, what they are trying to say in their photography and who they are trying to say it to. In other words photographers who think about their practice and their audience. It is incredible how few photographers do this.

I’m looking for photographers who can interpret the world around them, rather than just illustrate it – Panos isn’t a wire agency. A photographer should have their own vision and aesthetic.’

‘Equally important is the ability to tell new stories or to tell existing stories in new ways. There is nothing more refreshing than seeing a story or subject I haven’t seen photographed before. Too many photographers forget about the importance of identifying and researching stories. Think before you shoot. I recently came across a quote by Tod Papageorge on David Campbell’s excellent blog. He said “If your pictures aren’t good enough then you’re not reading enough.” That sums it up for me.’

How many photographers will you take on?

‘We don’t have a target. It could be anything from none to half a dozen. And we don’t have a set form of representation. It is unlikely though not impossible that we would take someone straight into the Profile group. The Network is where we can get to know the photographer and they in turn can get to know us.

We’re pretty flexible in the way we work with photographers, though we’re not interested if somebody says to us “Can you just rep me in the UK market?”, because so many of our sales are in the US and around the world.

We know what we are looking for, the question is whether there is anyone out there who fits. Given the nature of what we do, we believe it is important to increase our representation in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. But that doesn’t exclude photographers from other parts of the world. For instance we have a gap in our North American representation. Ultimately it is about the work and not who you are or where you are based.’

Australian photojournalist Patrick Brown,  is a member of Panos Pictures and is based in Bangkok.  His work on the live animal trade Black Market keeps resurfacing. Below is the link to a PDF spread that appeared in  German GEO recently.


Patrick-Brown-707695-600World Press Award Nature Second Prize Stories World Press Awards Patrick Brown Panos