I Feel Taboolaad – My Image Became Part of Clickbait


Another Image of that Eerily Abandoned Place 

So, this morning I’m doing my usual web browsing and stumble upon an article on one of the larger photography websites. You know, one of those that writes way more than it should and then adds even more stuff that you can click on. All for the pretty penny.

This site offers ‘recommended reading’ links, those little thumbnails with captivating headlines that promise endless fascination. One promised images of ‘Eerily Beautiful Abandoned Places.‘ I like those, so I clicked on the link, which was provided by content farmer Taboola.

It took me to the Conde Nast Traveler website and a little slideshow interspersed with ads for some kind of car. I forgot which car, because web advertising hardly works on me.

The moment I landed on the Conde Nast site, I had a feeling that I was going to feel used. I say ‘used,’ because I actually hate the clickbait that those ‘recommended reading’ links really are. Clutter mostly to make a bit of extra profit.

And ‘used’ because I already knew that one of my images was originally published on the Conde Nast Traveler website a while back in a series of photographs of abandoned places.

It’s a picture of an airplane on Nicosia airport, unused since 1974 when the Cyprus conflict tore the country apart. I took that picture in 2006 and submitted it to Alamy stock agency. I have only 35 images listed on Alamy, but some of those are pretty unique, so I do get a bit of traction out of those few.

I got paid of course, so I’m not really serious when I say I feel used. Fair’s fair. Conde Nast bought the rights to publish and can do what it wants to promote its slideshow and make a bit of dough.

Still, it’s a bit wry that my own work showed up in a web feature that I hate. That’s why I feel taboolaad.


© Image copyright John van Rosendaal

David Turnley’s Advice on Street Shooting

Amidst all the noise that many photography websites churn out on a daily basis, there’s sometimes great signal. Petapixel scored one with yesterday’s article ‘Pulitzer Winning Photographer David Turnley’s Advice to a Class of Photojournalism Students‘ by John Dykstra.

A worthy read.

What caught my eye was his advice to set your camera at aperture priority and open it up wide. I recall reading recently that his twin brother, Peter Turnley, actually advises to use shutter priority set at 1/250 for street shooting. Key point is that both focus on nailing the shot, rather than fiddling with settings all the time.




Photographing Fall Colors

20030102 fall colors

It is the time of year for traveling north in pursuit of colorful fall foliage. The northern states are already in flux, with the band of colors moving south week by week. Photographic Wanderings scoured the web and rounded up some tips for shooting fall foliage across the United States and offers up web sites with further information and foliage forecasts.

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Photography: the Art of Leaving Things Out

Dinner in the garageDinner on a Hot Summer Night – Nicosia, Cyprus

‘Photography is the art of leaving things out.’

That’s what I read a long time ago and it stuck with me.

I probably read it in Dutch, my native tongue. I have long forgotten where and when.

I still consider it good advice and I try to live by it. It goes for writing too, so it fits well with both my main professional preoccupations.

Jay Maisel also mentions it, when he tells his workshop or seminar audiences to always look at the whole frame. We tend too often to forget about the edges of our images when we take our shots.

Over time, though, I’ve come to believe that the statement is a bit restrictive. I think it made me focus too much on composition, for example, and not enough on using light to direct the viewer’s attention to what matters in an image.

As someone who dabbled a bit in photojournalism, it also made me realize that ‘leaving things out’ can lead to not showing the whole truth. I used to cover riots and demonstrations and would zero in on the actual conflict before my lens. That seemed logical and in line with leaving things out. The conflict WAS the image.

And then a real professional German photojournalist showed me his portfolio, which included coverage of riots and demonstrations. In his pictures, unlike in mine, you could see people on the sidelines, people who weren’t yelling, people who looked the other way. I asked him why he showed what obviously wasn’t part of the main storyline. I paraphrase, but his answer was basically that reality is never clear cut anyway.

And that’s true.

I still believe that a good rule for photographic composition is thinking of it as the art of leaving things out. To try to bring back the image to its true essentials. But it’s just one rule and once in a while it’s also good to realize that all rules sometimes need to be broken.

Wandering – Photographing the Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market


A visit to the famous Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo is a must for every tourist. Said to be the world’s largest fish market, its constant motion, colors and culture are a delight to be taken in. That also makes it a prime attraction for some serious photography.

The Place

The Tsukiji market has a long history. It’s located at the waterfront, since in the early years fish were brought in by trawlers. That vanished and railroad tracks were installed and the fish arrived by wagon loads. Nowadays the tracks are paved over and trucks bring in fish that’s sometimes flown in from faraway places to sate Tokyo’s appetite for fresh sushi. Word is that the current market will disappear in the coming years and be replaced by a new one a few miles from the present location.

That’s bad news for photographers. Over the years, tourists have become less welcome at Tsukiji. Until a few years ago, visitors could enter the market at any time and wander the many stalls while the main business took place. Then rude behavior by some tourists led to a complete ban on visitors. This ban is now partially lifted, but we can assume that a new facility will be designed to separate visitors from the vendors, which means photographers would not be able to see the action up close.

The guide books will tell you about the various areas of the market, but the one that you really want to capture is the so-called ‘inner market.’ That’s where the auctions take place and where the fish is prepped for shipment throughout Tokyo. It’s a maze of stalls and narrow passageways.

If possible you could spend hours walking the narrow corridors, seeking the best photo opportunities. The halls are vast, the stalls many and the concentrated activity captivating. The ‘if possible’ at the beginning of this paragraph is key, though, as time is your enemy.

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