Tag Archives: photojournalism

Pressing A Button Is Not Photography

I went to see Salvador in the cinema, in 1986 or 87.


If you haven’t seen it, it’s about photojournalists covering the civil war in Salvador. Highly recommend you watch it! Also, there’s a spoiler coming up, so if you’re going to see it, stop reading, now and return once you’ve seen the film!!

In the film, the main protagonist is a photojournalist played by James Woods. As he’s trying to leave El Salvador to get back to the States, he’s stopped at a check point and roughed up. He was trying to smuggle out films of the civil war and these ‘soldiers’ find the films and rip out the film from the cassette, ruining the pictures.

As this happens, I jumped out of my seat and screamed out ‘NO’! To say my friends were shocked (all non photographers) and the audience most concerned, would be an understatement. My eyes were filled with tears and my heart was pounding. I had been a hobbyist photographer for around two years and this was roughly two years before I started working as a photojournalist. Having dedicated every penny to buying film and every spare minute to reading about and looking at great photography, already brought a deep association with important, quality work.

As photographers, we have a very deep connection to our work. It’s part of us. Its not a job.

The Less Than Thoughtful Client

I had a client a year or two ago, really trying to low ball some work and massively over play the usage, well above the license agreed and paid for. The response during the ensuing discussions, was “its nothing personal, its just work”!

I’ve had clients, trying to con me into giving away copyright, accept very low pay for it, with the almost definite lies of more work in the future (Which never appears. A cheap or dishonest client never steps up and each time one of us accepts such a deal, it affects everyone else after us and for us, the client will never return. The entire industry takes another step towards ruin). Unprofessionalism and dishonesty, never right themselves. Every time we give in, we encourage and enforce this behaviour as being acceptable.

So the concept of a truly passionate, dedicated creative professional looking at their calling in life, be it photography, film making, music, poetry, writing and so on, being ‘just a job’, goes to show extreme ignorance in understanding what we do, how we think and how we are.

Long term partnerships nurture amazing work, which in turn makes the person booking the creative work look great and retain their client or job. Happy boss / client, happy middle person and happy creative.

The sad fact that more and more, only cutting corners seems to matter, even be a priority and quality of work is no longer an issue for these types of people, means that society’s appreciation of quality is diminishing. Quality and thought can be in a great advert. It can be an Instagram campaign. A Facebook sponsored post. A point of sale poster in a shop. The client pays, the middle person takes the biggest cut, the actual creative making the work, gets cheated.

A few years ago, I had a huge multi-national company trying to get me to work for free, as they felt paying for my vision, creativity, experience, time and skill, would pollute the purity of the work and this brand only wanted to work with truly passionate people who believe in the brand. My response to this person was in the form of a compliment; praising that they seemed extremely passionate and dedicated, so I was certain they must be working for free. Needless to say, this was met with astonished silence.

Just because someone can push a button and accepts being conned, does not make them a pianist, a writer or a photographer. No one who truly cares for their work, will disrespect their own creation and devalue it.

Some Advice For Young Photographers

If you’re new to the world of photography, my first piece of advice is to research and never agree to a fee or license on the spot. Most dishonest clients will try the line that they’re right up against the deadline etc. This is a pressurising technique. Promise of more work as there’s a low budget, is also a trick. When faced with such things, I always promise to do an amazing deal on the fifth booking. This type of client never comes back for a second booking, let alone a fifth, as they are purely out to take advantage.

As for rates and what to charge, there are various licensing calculators, like fotoQuote or the AOP’s online usage calculator. These are complied from prices paid, for similar work and an agreement between clients and photographers. These are industry standard rates. You can use these as a basis to either quote directly from, or to negotiate near to figures. If your skill and work is unique, you can negotiate upwards, for example. There are also several photographer’s groups online, where advice can be garnered before making an agreement.

Copyright. This is yours by law. Its not the client’s. If a client wants a buyout, this can be arranged and negotiated. Never give this away for free. Ever.

Value your work and that of the industry.

25 Years of News Photography

Observer picture editor Greg Whitmore, who is leaving the newspaper, looks back at the photos that made the news during his quarter century at the helm of the picture desk.

Absolutely honoured to have my work featured in this gallery of images, spanning 25 years of our modern history. The honour is even more amplified when I look at the phenomenally powerful work from talented and devoted colleagues with whom I’m sharing the page, but also by the fact that the gallery was curated by such an extremely well respected and talented picture editor with true Fleet Street heritage.

You can see the gallery here and also read about the legendary Greg Whitmore’s experiences at The Observer here, covering his near 30 years at the paper.

Former firefighter Paul Dadge helps injured tube passenger Davinia Turrell away from Edgware Road underground station, following a terror attack during London’s rush hour. Four suicide bombers with rucksacks full of explosives killed 52 people and injured hundreds more in what was the worst single terrorist atrocity on British soil.
Photograph: ©Edmond Terakopian

You can read more about London’s darkest hour in recent history and my experiences on that day, here. The same photograph from this awful day was called one of the world’s most iconic photographs by the Daily Mirror.

Travel Photographer Of The Year

Inspirational Journeys 11

A joy to receive the Travel Photographer Of The Year (Inspirational Journeys 11) book today. I was fortunate enough to have my image selected by the judges for a ‘Special Mention’ and was included in the very popular outdoor exhibition, by the banks of the River Thames outside City Hall.

The Travel Photographer Of The Year, Inspirational Journeys 11 book, alongside my Lumix G9 and Leica DG 50-200mm, with which I made the award winning photograph. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

My image was shot in the Tate Modern, using my Lumix G9 and the amazing Leica DG 50-200mm f2.8-4.0. The image was processed in Adobe Lightroom and the monochrome treatment finished in Exposure X5.

The Travel Photographer Of The Year, Inspirational Journeys 11 book, alongside my Lumix G9 and Leica DG 50-200mm, with which I made the award winning photograph. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian
The Travel Photographer Of The Year, Inspirational Journeys 11 book. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

NOIR Winning Image

The Club of Black and White Photography and NOIR the best of The Club of Black and White Photography curators have very kindly bestowed an award for best image of the month of August to one of my images.

The international group is comprised of 68,977 photographer members, so it’s nice to have an image chosen from such a talented and large group of people.

The image was shot as part of my reportage on the COVID 19 lockdown. It was made on my Panasonic Lumix G9 and an Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm f1.8 lens.

Lockdown Alfresco Coolness. A gentleman enjoys an outdoor drink in Soho, alfresco style, to keep within social distancing guidelines, during the relaxation of the COVID 19 lockdown. London, UK. August 09, 2020. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

Photography Rules

Essential Dos and Don’ts from Great Photographers

Photography Rules, Essential Dos and Don’ts from Great Photographers
is a new book by Dr Paul Lowe. To say that I’m delighted to be part of this amazing book would be putting it extremely mildly! I’m humbled to be in such great company and touched by Paul’s kind invitation to be part of this wonderful project. Sharing pages with one’s own inspirations and heroes in photography is quite literally, awesome.

Photography Rules; Essential Dos and Don’ts from Great Photographers. A book on photography by Paul Lowe, featuring the work and advice by 177 photographers, including Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus, Brassaï, Eve Arnold, Elliott Erwitt, Annie Leibovitz, David Hockney, Don McCullin, Nadar, Irving Penn, Chris Steele-Perkins, Sebastião Salgado, W. Eugene Smith, Garry Winogrand and Edmond Terakopian. London, UK. August 05, 2020. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

As photographers, we all consciously or more often, sub-counciously form our own philosophies and rules. Be these ethical, compositional, a work ethic or technical. Ways of approaching life, interacting with people, the technical aspects of photography or camera techniques that serve us well.

This fascinating insight from some of the most amazing photographers, stretching back to greats like Ansel Adams or Richard Avedon, Brassai to Bresson, is not only interesting but thought provoking, enlightening and inspirational.

As Paul Lowe writes, “The book is not a systematic ‘how to’ guide to photography but it does have a reasonably logical progression of entries, organised into three main categories of rules: ‘Making Photographs’, ‘Being a Photographer’ and ‘Professional Practice’. These follow the journey of the photographic process from even before the image is made through to building a long- term corpus of work to its distribution to the world. Individual genres and approaches to photography are interspersed throughout, covering fields such as portraiture, documentary and photojournalism, landscape and commercial photography.”

This book is going to appeal to an extremely wide range of photographers; seasoned professionals to those who are at the start of their journey in photography. Not only do I see this as becoming essential reading for every student in photography, but also for photography enthusiasts and amateur photographers who want to get an insight into the thought process of the authors behind some of the images they admire.

My own contribution, is about my personal approach to photojournalism, the ethics I live by and is listed in the ‘Being a Photographer’ section of the book. The beginning of the text reads, “The award-winning photojournalist Edmond Terakopian reminds us that, when documenting other people’s lives, especially in situations of distress, ‘it’s not your story, it belongs to your subject. You must never forget that.’”

Photography Rules; Essential Dos and Don’ts from Great Photographers. A book on photography by Paul Lowe, featuring the work and advice by 177 photographers, including Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus, Brassaï, Eve Arnold, Elliott Erwitt, Annie Leibovitz, David Hockney, Don McCullin, Nadar, Irving Penn, Chris Steele-Perkins, Sebastião Salgado, W. Eugene Smith, Garry Winogrand and Edmond Terakopian. London, UK. August 05, 2020. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

It accompanies my photograph documenting life, 10 years on from the devastating earthquake that struck Armenia. “A Woman Prays in an Armenian Church in Gyumri, for the Souls of Those Who Died in the Armenian Earthquake, 1988.”

Edmond Terakopian. London, UK.

The photograph from Gyumri was shot on a Leica M6 with a Leica 35mm Summicron, using Kodak Ektachrome slide film.

Photography Rules, Essential Dos and Don’ts from Great Photographers is out now and alongside good bookshops, is also available online from Amazon.

Biography: Dr. Paul Lowe is a Reader in Documentary Photography and the Course Leader of the Masters programme in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London, UK. Paul is an award-winning photographer, whose work is represented by VII Photos, and who has been published in Time, Newsweek, Life, The Sunday Times Magazine, The Observer and The Independent amongst others. He has covered breaking news the world over, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, Nelson Mandela’s release, famine in Africa, the conflict in the former Yugoslavia and the destruction of Grozny.

Urban 2020 Selected Photographer

Very happy to share that a portfolio of 5 of my images has been selected for the next stage of the Urban Photo Awards.

Wreath-laying ceremony at the memorial khachkar (a carved Armenian Stone Cross memorial sculpture) took place after a remembrance service and prayer of intercession, to commemorate the 105th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide of April 24th, 1915, when 1.5 Million Armenians were massacred by the Ottoman Empire. A member of the clergy swings a censer (a type of thurible) of incense. The usual wreath laying ceremony at The Cenotaph, attended by hundreds, was cancelled this year due to the COVID 19 lockdown and instead took place on church grounds. St. Yeghiche Armenian Church, Cranley Gardens, South Kensington, London, UK. April 24, 2020. Photo: Edmond Terakopian
Panasonic Lumix S1 with a Lumix S Pro 16-35mm f4.0 lens.


https://urbanphotoawards.com/selected-2020/selected-2020-people/#group-1 (I’m around 2/3 down the page – just look for my full name)

A portrait of Jim Connor (former picture editor, The Herald, Glasgow) enjoying a pint of Guiness at The Long Hall pub in Dublin, Republic of Ireland. January 17, 2020. Photo: Edmond Terakopian
Sigma fp with a Leica 35mm APO Summicron SL f2.0 lens.
Opera singer Ida Ränzlöv (mezzo-soprano) in her dressing room ahead of her performance in Ian Page’s visionary MOZART 250 series, 1770 – A Retrospective. In conjunction with Classic FM. Wigmore Hall, Wigmore Street, London, UK. January 09, 2020. Photo: Edmond Terakopian
Sigma fp with a Lumix S Pro 50mm f1.4 lens.
Fashion designer and independent British luxury brand, Joshua Kane, in his flagship store at 68 Great Portland Street, London, UK. July 23, 2019. Photo: Edmond Terakopian
Panasonic Lumix S1R with a Lumix S Pro 24-70mm f2.8 lens.
Easing Of The Coronavirus Lockdown In England begins today with non-essential retailers being allowed to open if they adhere to social distancing rules. Harrods opens it’s doors to shoppers who began queuing over an hour before the 11am opening of the store. Knightsbridge, London, UK. June 15, 2020. Photo: Edmond Terakopian
Panasonic Lumix S1R with a Lumix S Pro 16-35mm f4.0 lens.

All the images were made using the L-Mount camera system. Three images were shot on the Lumix S Series with Lumix S Pro lenses and the other two images were shot on the Sigma fp with a Leica APO Summicron SL lens and a Lumix S Pro lens.

All photographs were from raw files, edited and processed in Adobe Lightroom and finished in Exposure Software’s Exposure X5, with the monochrome image being finished in DxO’s Nik Collection, Silver Efex Pro.

Fingers crossed for the October announcement!