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Photos of the Year from Shutterstock December 14, 2020

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The Story of the 2020 Year Review looks at events and people that made a mark in our memories. This curated collection by Shutterstock Editorial is conveniently divided into Top 10,  Top 50, and Top 200. The selection of 200 images by the company’s photo editors tells the story of this unprecedented year, which began with hope and has transpired into one that will be remembered mostly for loss but also for a newfound appreciation for humanity.

Candace Murray Vice President Editorial Images Shutterstock: With a year dominated by major news stories, our curation and photography experts looked at the Editors’ Picks, the top images on Shutterstock selected by editors and partners such as AP and epa (european pressphoto agency). They worked alongside key photographers and the editorial team to identify images with exceptional quality that shaped the headlines in a year like no other. Our editorial team saw an opportunity to narrate the year that was 2020––the good, the bad, and everything in between. The images selected were those they felt were the most impactful. You could say that the most meaningful images are those that are timeless and are those that stay with you long after you’ve viewed them.


PLATON: June 3, 2020

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Born in London in 1968, Platon was raised in the Greek Isles until his family returned to England in the 1970′s. He attended St. Martin’s School of Art and after receiving his BA with honors in Graphic Design, went on to receive an MA in Photography and Fine Art at the Royal College of Art. After working for British Vogue for several years, he was invited to NY to work for the late John Kennedy Jr. and his political magazine, ‘George’. After shooting portraits for a range of international publications including Rolling Stone, the New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Esquire, GQ and the Sunday Times Magazine, Platon developed a special relationship with Time magazine, producing over 20 covers.

In 2007 Platon photographed Russian Premier Vladimir Putin for Time Magazine’s Person Of The Year Cover. This image was awarded 1st prize at the World Press Photo Contest. In 2008 he signed a multi-year contract with the New Yorker. As the staff photographer, he has produced a series of large-scale photo essays, two of which won ASME Awards in 2009 and 2010. Platon’s New Yorker portfolios have focused on many themes including President Obama’s Inauguration, the U.S Military, portraits of world leaders and the Civil Rights Movement.

The following year, Platon teamed up with the Human Rights Watch to help them celebrate those who fight for equality and justice in countries suppressed by political forces. These projects have highlighted human rights defenders from Burma as well as the leaders of the Egyptian revolution. Following his coverage of Burma, Platon photographed Aung San Suu Kyi for the cover of Time – days after her release from house arrest.

In 2011, Platon was honored with a prestigious Peabody Award for a collaboration on the topic of Russia’s Civil Society with The New Yorker Magazine and Human Rights Watch. Platon’s first monograph ‘Platon’s Republic’, was published in 2004 by Phaidon Press. To coincide with its publication, the work was exhibited internationally, in London at the ex-Saatchi Gallery as well as the Milk Gallery in New York. His second book, ‘Power’ – a collection of portraits of over 100 world leaders – was published in 2011 by Chronicle and following its success was selected by Apple to be released as an app. The book includes portraits of Barack Obama, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, Dmitry Medvedev, Benjamin Netanyahu, Hugo Chavez, Mahmoud Abbas, Tony Blair, Robert Mugabe, Silvio Berlusconi, and Muammar Qaddafi.

In recent years, public speaking has progressively played a major role in Platon’s career as communicator and storyteller. He has been invited to be a keynote speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Yale, the London School of Economics, the National Portrait Gallery in London and the International Center of Photography in NY. He has also appeared on a range of television media including Charlie Rose (PBS), Morning Joe (MSNBC), Fareed Zakaria’s GPS (CNN) and the BBC World News.

Between 2011-2013, Platon’s work has been exhibited in galleries both domestically and abroad. He has exhibited in New York at the Matthew Marks Gallery and the Howard Greenberg Gallery, as well as internationally at the Colette Gallery in Paris, France. The New York Historical Society also exhibited a solo show of Platon’s Civil Rights photographs, which remain as part of the museum’s permanent collection. Other permanent collections holding Platon’s photography include The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa, Florida and The Westlicht Museum for Photography in Vienna, Austria. Platon’s advertising credits include the United Nations Foundation, Credit Suisse Bank, Exxon Mobil, Diesel, the Wall Street Journal, Motorola, Nike, Converse, Verizon, Vittel, Levi’s, IBM, Rolex, Ray-Ban, Tanqueray, Kenneth Cole, Issey Miyake, Moschino, Timex and Bertelsmann among others. Platon lives in New York with his wife, daughter and son.

In the middle of April, Netflix quietly uploaded the Platon episode of its excellent 2017 docuseries “Abstract: The Art of Design” to YouTube, where you can watch it for free, even if you don’t have a subscription. It’s not an exaggeration to call this a must-watch.

If you’re not familiar with the series, and you’re a Netflix subscriber, we highly recommend you check it out. Every aspect of design—from illustration, to typography, to photography—is covered in individual 45-minute long episodes that feature a creator who is at the top of their game.

The following link leads us through an amazing life journey with  Antoniou PLATON


World Birds: British Photographer Tim Flach December 2, 2019

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British photographer Tim Flach has spent years scouring the globe for the world’s most striking and endangered birds, shooting highly-controlled portraits of them.

Some of the photos are shot in a studio while others are shot in the birds’ natural environment. Some of the birds are critically endangered while others are more plentiful on Earth, but all are incredibly beautiful.

Sony Ambassador Victor Habchy Quits Photography April 19, 2019

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Victor Habchy‘s photography career took off after he became a Sony ambassador and when his dreamlike photos from Burning Man went wildly viral online a few years ago, and he has gone on to amass over 300,000 followers.  His photos are aesthetically beautiful, balanced and eloquent. Today Victor Habchy quit photography.

In a post on his Facebook page, Habchy explains why he’s turning away from his successful career of working for big clients like Adobe, representing Sony in France as part of Team Alpha, and sharing his work with a huge social media following.

The former professional photographer says it was never his plan to become a photographer — it’s a career that unexpectedly dropped into his lap when his photos went viral.

“It wasn’t my plan,” Habchy writes. “At first, I didn’t even [know] I could earn money. I was just doing it before I loved it. And from shoot to shoot, from years to years, I started to grow an audience.”


“Then I went to the Burning Man, probably the biggest turning point of my career,’ Habchy continues. “I posted the pictures online and went to sleep. The next morning, my mailbox was filled with request[s] from newspaper[s], with model[s] who wanted to meet, with messages of people saying how much they loved my pictures. It simply became viral. I was overwhelmed.”

In the subsequent 10 years, Habchy was hired by huge international brands, worked on commercials, traveled the world, and held an exhibition in Switzerland.

“I loved every single moment of it,” Habchy says. “But it is time for me to quit.”

The photographer says he’s walking away from the world of photography because he is no longer excited by it.

“Because I’ve done so many shoots, so many trips, so many pictures,” he writes. “I just want to move on.”

And in case you’re worried about the state of Habchy’s mental health:

“Don’t worry: I am not depressed, and still very curious about loads of topics,” he states, noting that he wants to explore new horizons and learn new things.”

Giving up photography is difficult to comprehend. Perhaps it is the surreal world that he has based his work on, an aesthetic world that has been created by artists with personal visions of a dimension that is both real and fictional. He has certainly mastered that aesthetic. His website certainly proves that. To move on requires courage. I wish him good fortune.


Unknown Warriors: Fighting fire with the Camera November 15, 2018

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Photo Noel Berger

As dry and windy conditions cause raging wildfires in California, there are brave men and women putting themselves in harm’s way to document what’s happening and serve as the eyes of the world. This incredible photo by photographer Noah Berger shows photographer Justin Sullivan braving wind-blown embers while covering the devastating Camp Fire in Paradise, California.

Photo Justin Sullivan Getty Images

The ongoing Camp Fire is the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in the history of California. Since starting on November 8th, it has caused at least 42 deaths, burned over 125,000 acres, and destroyed over 6,500 buildings. By the end of its first day, it had essentially destroyed the town of Paradise, which had a population of over 26,000 people.

Berger and Sullivan were covering the fire together as it scorched the town, and Berger captured the above photo while Sullivan, a staff photojournalist for Getty Images, went low to photograph a KFC restaurant burning down. Above is the photo that resulted.

Berger is a veteran wildfire photographer, having covered a number of major fires in years past. You can find more of his work on his website and Facebook.

HOT POTATO: A photo by Kevin Abosch October 10, 2018

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Check out this photo of a potato. It may look like a rather ordinary photo, but it’s one of the most expensive photos in the world: it sold last year for a staggering $1,000,000+.

The photo, titled “Potato #345 (2010),” is by photographer Kevin Abosch, who charges huge fees to shoot portraits of famous business people in the Silicon Valley tech industry.

Business Insider reports that Abosch’s “iconic black backdrop” portraits have become a sort of status symbol among the elites of business and entertainment — the rich and famous pay over $150,000 for a photo shoot with Abosch, and up to $500,000 if commercial usage is included.

In addition to shooting pricey portraits, Abosch is also a fine art photographer, and that’s how the potato photo came about.

“Kevin likes potatoes because they, like people are all different yet immediately identifiable as being essentially of the same species”.

“He has photographed many potatoes. This one is one of his favorites.”

This self portrait is of Kevin Abosch himself.

Steven Soderbergh’s New Movie “UNSANE” was Shot in 4K on the iPhone May 11, 2018

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Director Steven Soderbergh’s latest movie is a psychological horror-thriller titled Unsane. This feature film has a big difference from his previous movies, though: it was shot entirely on the iPhone. You can watch the official 3-minute trailer above.

The synopsis of the movie reads: “A young woman is involuntarily committed to a mental institution where she is confronted by her greatest fear–but is it real or is it a product of her delusion?”

Soderbergh, who’s known for films such as Erin BrockovichTraffic, and Ocean’s Eleventells IndieWire that he decided on shooting with an iPhone because he was impressed with the cinematography, and that he is likely to continue shooting with the iPhone moving forward.

“I think this is the future,” Soderbergh tells IndieWire. “Anybody going to see this movie who has no idea of the backstory to the production will have no idea this was shot on the phone. That’s not part of the conceit.

“People forget, this is a 4k capture. I’ve seen it 40 feet tall. It looks like velvet. This is a gamechanger to me.”


Here is the trailer on the Peta Pixel site:


Dmitry Markov from Pushkino Russia Photos from his iPhone March 16, 2018

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Photographer Dmitry Markov grew up in Pushkino, a hardscrabble industrial town north of Moscow where, for Markov and many of his childhood friends, sniffing glue and spending days outside avoiding their alcoholic dads seemed relatively normal.

Dmitry Markov

Somehow though, the 35-year-old plotted a course — through blogging, activism, and photography — that eventually won him grants and commissions from Russia’s most prestigious publications (even if some tried to avoid paying him).  His story, put together by Amos Chappel is on the Peta Pixel site link below:






Amos Chapple writing about Max Penson: The Forgotten Photographer of Soviet Uzbekistan December 23, 2017

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Amos Chapple’s interesting career intercepted with Uzbek photographer Max Penson. Here are photographs from both photographers.

Colour Photographs Amos Chapple

Amos Chapple is a New Zealand photographer who makes news-flavored travel photos. He started off at New Zealand’s largest daily paper in 2003. After two years chasing news, he took a full-time position shooting UNESCO World Heritage sites. In 2012, he went freelance but kept up the travel. Since then, he has been published in most major news titles around the world. You can find more of his work on his websiteFacebook, and Instagram. This article was also published Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Peta Pixel.


As Central Asia was transformed under Soviet rule, Max Penson made a remarkable record of life in the fledgling Uzbek S.S.R. before being driven from his career and toward tragedy. Born in Belarus his life was spent in Uzbekistan where haunted by anti Semitism and poverty he eventually took his own life.

Max Penson Self Portrait

The Surreal Experiments with double exposures on film of Polina Washington June 7, 2017

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I took a very simple, old Soviet LOMO camera and loaded it with film. I reasoned that there are two ways to create multiple exposure work on 35mm film—either by using a special mode on your camera, or just load and shoot one film roll twice. With the LOMO, I used the latter method because it had no multiple exposure mode. Working like this was different from my Nikon—I had to shoot the whole roll and then go through it again afresh, meaning I lost control. As it was impossible for me to remember what I had shot in each frame, the resulting combinations were a consistent surprise.

It ended up taking me several months to finish exposing one roll twice. After developing it, my risk was affirmed. Some of the pictures were completely new and far divorced from the objects I shot.And for many of the combinations, I felt that they could not have existed in any other variation. Really, in the end, I felt that the bestcombinations had occurred.

I also soaked the film in various substances to increase the surreal feeling in the images. My technique was very spontaneous, I would use whatever I could get my hands on: lemon juice, detergent, wine, etc. Again, the results were a pleasant mystery. Even when I found a combination I liked, I chose to mix the ingredients without marking down my recipes—part of the continual experiment and the surprise.

I suppose the process for “Bloom” could be seen as unprofessional. But I prefer to look at it as risky and thus exciting. I never could have imagined that my images would look like this. Soaking the film could destroy it all—but if even one image came out well, it was worth it. As they say: the battle is worth the blood.

Technical aspects aside, “Bloom” is about colors and forms, about the subtle matters that surround us. It is about feelings. I believe that we “see” only the tiniest part of the whole world—we are not taught to see “deeper.” All the unseen forces—their vibrations and energies—affect us and our lives. Tuning into these forces is a necessity if we want to be a part of the world.

—Polina Washington