News

Introducing Photocritic &c

Have you noticed anything a little different about Photocritic recently? Maybe that we're reporting fewer news stories? Or that the front page looks slightly different? Don't worry; you don't have to answer, but trust us when we tell you that things have changed around here. We set out with the intention of making Photocritic a resource of everything that you should know about photography. It even says so up there. If you think that sounds like an enormous undertaking, you wouldn't be wrong. But in addition to the mountainous workload, the scope of 'everything' carries with it the threat of the insignificant drowning out the significant and the ephemera overwhelming the fundamentals. This is of no benefit at all to you, and it's a waste of our time. Hence we've decided to make some changes.

We're diversifying our presence but consolidating our coverage. No, I'm still not sure how I came up with that statement. Too many press releases, probably.

Let's start here, with the Photocritic website. This will be for the everything that makes you a better photographer. And for everything that deserves analysis and commentary within the photography industry. It will be for tutorials and explainers, for reviews and op-eds. This is for long-tail writing.

PC etc

For the everything that encompasses quirky news stories, exhibition announcements, competition calls for entries, and information about books written by people who aren't us, we've set up Photocritic &c. It's a Tumblr for the sort of everything that won’t necessarily be interesting in six months’ time, but is interesting now. It's more of a rolling news feed.

We've put a link to Photocritic &c in the navigation bar, there's also one in our social bar, you should be able to subscribe via your RSS feed, and if you've a Tumblr account, you can subscribe there.

And of course, there's the Photocritic Twitter account. That covers everything that you should know about photography in 140 characters. (Don't be shy of following Daniela on Twitter, either. She's @SmallAperture.)

We think this is a change for the better: a smoother, less cluttered Photocritic experience. We hope that you think so, too.

Finally, if there's anything specific that you'd like us to cover, please ask us. We have an extensive editorial calendar, but we want to know what you want to read. Do drop us an email.

Flickr has announced Curated Connections, but what exactly is it?

When Flickr and Getty announced earlier this year that they'd not be renewing their licensing deal, I suggested that it might not be long before Flickr unveiled its own in-house licensing project. With well in excess of five billion images on its servers, Flickr has a huge stock library waiting for exploitation: easy sales for Flickr users and a cut for Yahoo! is a win-win situation. We had a four-and-half month wait for the grand reveal: today, Flickr announced its Curated Connections project. Well, I say it was a grand reveal, it was more of a swift overview.

Sign-up! Sign-up! Although it's mostly a wait for information now.

What is Flickr offering photographers who sign up to the Curated Connections project? It's a good question that doesn't have an especially solid answer, for the announcement is curiously light on specifics. The Flickr blog post tells us that they are: 'excited to introduce a new way for you to partner with photo agencies, editors, bloggers and other creative minds who are seeking original content like yours.' But there's no indication of what this new system is or how it will operate.

Flickr's curatorial team will be there to 'provide assistance, outreach and connectivity to help you get your photos licensed!' But it doesn't detail what this will entail. It's hardly surprising that with such a vague outline of what they're planning there isn't any significant information concerning such trivialities that interest photographers, namingly licensing terms. We're told that they'll be transparent and easy, although as things stand the terms remain mythical beasts.

The sign-up page tempts users with suggestions that their images might be used by media behemoths including the BBC, Gizmodo, the New York Times, and Reuters. There's even a mention of previous licensing-partner Getty. As you might expect from a Yahoo! owned company, there is potential for your images to be used on other Yahoo! owned, sites, too. Part of the 'outreach and connectivity' that Flickr hopes to offer are opportunities to complete commissions and assignments. Flickr's definitely talking the talk here.

Being able to share your images and make them available for licensing in one place is appealing—and it's something that other photo-sharing sites, for example 500px and EyeEm are also beginning to entertain—but so much of that appeal is going to depend on how the deals are cut and the terms under which images are released. Allowing Flickr to deal with the tedium of bureaucracy might not be suitable compensation if the remuneration is insufficient. Will it walk the walk?

Cake Can we have a baked and iced cake, please, Flickr? It beats a half-remembered recipe.

So do tell us, Flickr: what exactly are you proposing here? There's a lot of ethereal chatter and not much substance. I'm sure that you're excited by your new project and you want us to be excited about it, too, but it rather helps if you share with us the pertinent facts. It's something of a half-baked non-announcement at the moment. We've no idea if the cake's carrot or chocolate or something else entirely. Provide us with an actual announcement that you've baked and iced and we might be slightly more enthusiastic. Or not. Depending on what you suggest (I prefer lemon, for reference).

If you are interested in Flickr's Curated Connections, you can sign up here.

Too Young to Wed: an exhibition for Girl Summit 2014

Nujood was ten when she fled her abusive, much older husband and took a taxi to the courthouse in Sanaa, Yemen. Her courageous act—and the landmark legal battle that ensued—turned her into an international heroine for women's rights.
Nujood was ten when she fled her abusive, much older husband and took a taxi to the courthouse in Sanaa, Yemen. Her courageous act—and the landmark legal battle that ensued—turned her into an international heroine for women's rights.

For over a decade Stephanie Sinclair has been documenting the issue of child marriage and the horrific impact it has on the lives of girls and young women—from irreparable gynaecological damage to self-immolation. UNFPA and photo agency VII brought together her works in the exhibition Too Young to Wed, and as part of Girl Summit 2014, held in London today, it is on display at the London School of Economics.

Girl Summit, hosted by the UK Government and UNICEF, aims to spearhead an end to child, forced, and early marriage and an end to female genital mutilation within a generation.

Too Young to Wed is being exhibited at the London School of Economics in its Atrium Gallery in the Old Building. It's free to enter and you can wander through from 10:00 to 20:00, Monday to Friday, until 1 August.

Too Young to Wed at the London School of Economics, Atrium Gallery, The Old Building, London School of Economics, WC2A 2AE

Bridging the past: hybrid images of London

The Museum of London released 16 gorgeous and ghostly images of London today merged with London of yesterday to mark the launch of its revamped app. To celebrate the Bridge exhibition, which runs until 2 November 2014, the museum has continued this historically creative adventure by releasing 16 images of London's bridges, spanning from present to past. Tower Bridge c. 1903–10, by Christina Broom

The original images, which are all part of the museum's photography collection, were shot in the 19th and 20th centuries. Their photographers include: Henry Grant, Henry Turner, Sandra Flett, Christina Broom, Roger Mayne, and George Davison Reid. They depict Tower Bridge c. 1903-10; the demolition of Old Waterloo Bridge c. 1934; Albert Bridge c. late 19th century; London Bridge c.1937; and the view of London’s skyline from Tower Bridge c.1930, among others.

Richmond Bridge late 19th century, photographer unknown

Francis Marshall, curator of the Bridge exhibition says: 'Contrasting historic shots with those of today allows us to see how the city has changed over time. Or in some cases, how it has remained the same.'

A Windy Evening on London Bridge c. 1937, by Henry Turner

You can see all of the images at the Bridge exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands. It's free!

Charing Cross Railway Bridge, late 19th century, unknown photographer

Wildlife Photographer of the Year - cast your vote!

Should you ever have thought 'What made the judges choose that photo?' or wondered just how tough it is to choose one stand-out image from a huge selection, now's your chance. To celebrate its fiftieth anniversary the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition has created the People's Choice award. Fifty images have been posted online and you get to choose your favourite. The image that has accumulated the most votes will be announced at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards evening and be exhibited as part of the 2014 collection on display at the Natural History Museum. That exhibition opens on 24 October before embarking on an international tour. The top five People's Choice images will be displayed online, with the rest of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 collection.

Facebook update, Marsel van Oosten (Netherlands)
Facebook update, Marsel van Oosten (Netherlands)

It's a one-person-one-vote set-up; I've taken a look at the entries and am weighing up my vote. Some are just too obviously processed for me, but choosing a favourite isn't going to be easy. At the moment I'm torn between a photo with a fantastic story and another that I think is technically better but narratively weaker. Ah the quandary!

Caiman night, Luciano Candisani (Brazil)
Caiman night, Luciano Candisani (Brazil)

You can cast your vote over on the Wildlife Photographer of the Year website.

Calls for entries! Care to pit yourself against the photographic opposition?

If you're brave enough to pit yourself against fellow photographers, the following competitions have made calls for entries recently. We try to feature only competitions that don't appear to attempt nasty rights grabs from their entrants, but please do read the terms and conditions carefully prior to entry.

Sony World Photography Awards 2015

With categories for professionals, amateurs, students, and young people, the Sony World Photography Awards have somewhere for any type of photographer to submit their images. Prizes include kit and cash, as well as a glitzy awards ceremony held in London.

  • Professional – 15 categories judged on a series of work
  • Open – 10 categories judged on a single image
  • Youth – three categories for photographers under 20. Judged on a single image
  • Student Focus – for higher education photography students aged 18-30

The Open and Youth competitions will close for entries at 23:59 GMT on Monday 5 January 2015. The Professional competition will close at 23:59 GMT on Thursday 8 January 2015.

Winner of the Open Category: Chen Li for his 'Rain in an Ancient Town' (Chen Li (China) Winner Open Travel 2014 Sony World Photography Awards)
Winner of the Open Category: Chen Li for his 'Rain in an Ancient Town' (Chen Li (China) Winner Open Travel 2014 Sony World Photography Awards)

All details and entry instructions can be found on the World Photography Organisation website.

Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2015

We're not overly keen on paid-for competitions here at Photocritic, but the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year competition has an excellent young people's competition that's free to enter. And we love encouraging kids and teens to get out with their cameras. Under 18s can enter three photos free of charge into their age category, they just have to be of food. The competition closes on 8 February 2015 at midnight GMT.

Philip Harben Award for Food in Action: Tessa Bunney (UK/PDR of Lao) - Noodle Making.
Philip Harben Award for Food in Action: Tessa Bunney (UK/PDR of Lao) - Noodle Making.

All details and entry instructions can be found on the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year website.

FXB 'Framing Hope' competition

The NGO FXB is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a photography competition. It is asking entrants to capture the concept of hope in one image. All entries will be displayed in an online gallery, with the five most-voted for by the public, shortlisted for judging by our expert panel who will select the overall winner.

The prize for the winning entry will be an exclusive half-day photography masterclass with photographer Jillian Edelstein and the opportunity to have her or his photograph exhibited alongside Edelstein’s at London’s gallery@oxo in August.

Hope in one frame?
Hope in one frame?

Entries can be submitted until 25 July 2014 and submission details can be found on the competition website.

Do you have your Rihanna yet? The digital Diana camera

If you've not already pledged your money to Cyclops Cameras' Digital Diana Camera Indiegogo campaign, there's still time—it ends on 15 July—and there are still cameras available—250 of the 1,000 units have been assigned, even though it has already met its £13,500 target—and there are no plans to put it into commercial production. Toy camera look, digitally made

The Digital Diana is exactly what it sounds like: a 1:1 replica of a Diana mini fitted with a 12 megapixel CMOS sensor and a plastic lens. There's a 1.8" LCD rear screen for composition and review, the ability to adjust white balance and ISO, and to apply some effects.

Greg, the brains behind Cyclops Cameras has already enjoyed success with limited production runs of quirky cameras, notably the 'Little Cyclops', which was a tiny fisheye camera. The community that has grown up around these cameras has suggested the Digital Diana be known as a 'Rihanna'.

You can have a Rihanna delivered to you around Christmas-time for £65, but for £60 you can pick up one at the invite-only launch party in London that will probably be sometime in September. If you feel the need for double Rihanna trouble, a bundle of two costs £115.

In action!

The Rihanna looks like all the fun of a toy camera without the analogue inconvenience. And it's limited edition. Groovy!

All the details are on The Digital Diana Camera Project's Indiegogo page.

For one month only: an 1845 Fox Talbot salt print on display at the Museum of London Docklands

Any exhibition opening is exciting for the curation team behind it, but the Museum of London is particularly excited about its forthcoming exhibition Bridge, which opens at the Docklands branch of the organisation on 27 June. Bridge will feature the oldest photograph in the museum's collection, William Henry Fox Talbot's Old Hungerford Bridge, a salt print made in 1845. The print has never been exhibited by the museum until now, owing to its fragile condition and its special place in photographic history.

While Fox Talbot worked on developing the photographic process throughout the 1830s, it wasn't until 1845 that he made his major breakthrough that allowed photographs to be successfully fixed in a way that wasn't so hit-and-miss. This was a precursor to the development process that was used until the advent of digital photography. And Old Hungerford Bridge would have been one of the first negative-to-positive images fixed in this way.

William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877) Hungerford Bridge Salt print, made around 1845

The print itself shows Isambard Kingdom Brunel's original Hungerford Bridge in 1845, the year it opened. (It would be demolished 15 years later to make way for a railway bridge.) 'By contrasting the old barges in the foreground with the Brunel's new iron bridge, Fox Talbot highlights the technological advances of the 19th century,' says Francis Marshall, Bridge's curator. Let alone his own technological advances in the photography world.

Why the difficulty in exhibiting the print? It's extremely fragile and faded due to its age. In order to minimise the risks to the picture, it will be displayed in strictly controlled lighting conditions; in order to see it, visitors will be invited to press a button to illuminate it, reducing its exposure to nnecessary light. It's also only going to be on display for the first month of the exhibition.

As for the rest of the exhibition, it uses a mixture of contemporary and historical artworks, photography, and film to chart the visual history of London. From Hungerford to Blackfriars, Westminster, Millennium, and Thomas Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge design, Bridge looks at how London’s bridges allow people to move around and experience the city.

The exhibition runs from 27 June to 2 November 2014, at the Museum of London Docklands. But the Fox Talbot print will only be on display for the first month. It's free to enter. The entire museum is well worth a trip, and I recommend indulging in a mojito in Rum & Sugar when you've finished.

EyeEm announces its Photography Awards and Festival 2014

New kit. Maybe some cash. Global exhibition. Publication in a 'Best of 2014' photobook. A trip to Berlin. Sound good? They're all prizes that are up for grabs for winners of the EyeEm Global Photography Awards. Starting today, photo-sharing site EyeEm is looking for the best examples of mobile photography to showcase at the Berlin Holzmarkt as part of its photography festival in September this year. There are ten categories into each of which you can submit a maximum of three images.

Take a photo

Open now are the Portraitist, the Illusionist, and the Explorer categories. That round closes on 1 June, to be followed by the Architect, the Street Photographer, and the Illuminator categories, which are open to submissions from 2 June. The final round opens on 16 June and comprises categories the Speedster, the Landscapist, the Storyteller, and the Stylist.

All you have to do is upload your chosen images to EyeEm and tag them with the appropriate category in the Share screen. If you don't already have an EyeEm account, it's free to join.

b_EyeEm Awards Website

The winners will be chosen by a jury of ten illuminaries from the photographic world, including Anna Dickson, the Huffington Post's Director of Photography, conflict photographer Benjamin Lowy, and Olivier Laurent, who edits TIME's Lightbox magazine. As well as being exhibited at Berlin's Holzmarkt as part of EyeEm's Photography Festival running 12-13 September, winning images will be showcased to the public in London, New York City, San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, and Tokyo. And the talented entrant named as the EyeEm Photographer of the Year will win a round-trip to Berlin for two, to experience the Festival!

'We’re looking forward to celebrating this new generation of budding photographers, who are defining a new era, with the launch of our Global Photography Festival & Awards,' says Florian Meissner, co-founder and CEO of EyeEm. 'Photography has changed significantly in recent years and at EyeEm we see smartphone photography as a natural evolution of the art form. The creative excellence of our community is the center of EyeEm and the Global Photography Festival & Awards are our way of continuing to support and show the world this incredible talent.'

The EyeEm Photography Festival runs over the 12 and 13 September 2014. It aims to highlight the creative images being made with mobile phones, connect leaders from the photography, devices, and media industry with the next generation of photographers to discuss the state and future of photography, and lay on photowalks, masterclasses, and portfolio reviews for attendees.

All of the details on how to enter the competition and how to book your place at the Festival are available on the EyeEm website. See you there?

MBLOK: a cross-platform memory cube for many devices

One memory across multiple devices that doesn't involve the cloud? I think I could be tempted by that idea. It's precisely what MBLOK is attempting to achieve via a Kickstarter campaign that launched yesterday. MBLOK is a small, local memory device that connects to PCs and Macs like a flashdrive or communicates with smartphones and tablets via Bluetooth. It should function cross-platform and can connect to upto seven devices simultaneously. There are Android and iOS apps in the works to help you manage your files stored on an MBLOK and keep a track of its battery life. It's meant to last for upto 300 hours. It comes in 128 and 256GB storage capacities.

MBLOK's biggest appeal, for me, is its ability to connect to a variety of different devices without the need for an internet connecton. This makes it ideal for when you're on the move and might want to back up Raw images from your laptop and other photos from your phone, watch films on your tablet, and keep copies of documents, but can't guarantee access to the cloud.

A quick run-down of capability

MBLOK needs to raise $120,000 (Canadian) to reach its Kickstarter goal. That's £65,700. You can pick up an early-bird special 128GB MBLOK for $189 (about £105) or 256GB version for $279 (£155); rising to $249 and $349 respectively when the limited numbers special prices have been snapped up. I was slightly concerned that at these prices and with few lower-tier backing options, MBLOK might struggle. But it's already raised over $15,000 and it isn't even 24 hours into its campaign yet.

Connects to a laptop via USB, to smartphone via Bluetooth

I'm also inclined to regard the MBLOK timeline with scepticism. It seems highly ambitious to me, with a great deal to be accomplished before shipping the product in the first quarter of 2015. This includes establishing suppliers and component production, app development, and a great deal of testing. If I were putting my money into this, I'd be prepared for my device to arrive a little after the anticipated delivery date.

Managed via an app

If you're interested, you can read more and pledge money over on Kickstarter.

For one day only iStock is paying 100% royalties toartists

The terms and conditions under which photographers sell their images via stock agencies are frequently criticised and as a consequence the money that they can make from sales is often lamented. For one day only, however, iStock by Getty Images is trying to make photographers feel better about the deal and their contribution to the stock business. As part of its celebration of Small Business Week in the US, it has declared 14 May 2014 to be '100% Royalty Day'. 100% Royalty Day means that:

  • 100% of sales on all exclusive/only available from iStock content sold through cash and credit file downloads will go directly to iStock by Getty Images artists
  • double royalties will be paid to artists whose exclusive content is sold via iStock by Getty's new subscription scheme

However, it's not quite the gold-plated celebration of small businesses that it appears to be at first blush. That pesky word 'exclusive' makes all the difference. If you're not afraid of a little stock agency promiscuity then you won't be eligible for any extra pennies accrued. And of course, it's not exactly easy to encourage people to select your content for download on 14 May; they'll download it at their convenience. Still, if you are an exclusive iStock by Getty contributor, it's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

Feature image: Amesy/ iStock by Getty Images

Something for the weekend? The Last of the Liberators at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford

Not only is 2014 the centenary of the commencement of hostilities of the First World War, but it is also the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, which are often thought to be 'the beginning of the end' of the Second World War. As part of its commemoration of the women and men who served in the conflict and who made the Normandy Landings, the Imperial War Museum is hosting a photographic exhibition of portraits of some of the last surviving British veterans of the campaign. D-Day, the Last of the Liberators is an exhibition of 15 portraits of men and women who participated in the Normandy Landings, taken 70 years since. These photos saw their return to the places they most closely associate with the campaign: where they were wounded or saw comrades fall; where they experienced quirks of fate or chance; or where their lives were shaped.

The Last Of The Liberators at IWM Duxford from Lastoftheliberators on Vimeo.

The photos were taken by Robin Savage, whose work is more often linked to actors, but he's always held a fascination for the Second World War, and the Normandy Landings especially. This culminated in his personal project to honour those who served. 'Being in the company of such extraordinary people has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life and I am honoured that many of them have become friends.'

Vera Hay, by Robin Savage Vera was a sister with the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service. She landed on Gold Beach about a week after D-Day. She was one of the first British nurses to land at Normandy. Once in position, she and her team would treat around 200 casualties each day. Sleep was snatched and came in a ditch until tents reached the field hospital at Chateau de Beaussy.
Vera Hay, by Robin Savage Vera was a sister with the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service. She landed on Gold Beach about a week after D-Day. She was one of the first British nurses to land at Normandy. Once in position, she and her team would treat around 200 casualties each day. Sleep was snatched and came in a ditch until tents reached the field hospital at Chateau de Beaussy.

The exhibition, just one part of the museum's D-Day remembrance programme, runs until the end of the year. Entry is included in the price of admission to the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, and under-15s are admitted for free. There are more details on the Imperial War Museum's website.

The Sony World Photography Awards 2014 - the winners

The winners of the Sony World Photography Awards were announced at a rather swanky awards dinner on Wednesday evening. There were lots of speechless speeches, some very dapper men in black tie, a delicious Cabernet Sauvignon, and a ludicrously chocolately chocolate dessert. I did try to live tweet the winners, I promise. My attempts were rather frustratingly thwarted by a complete lack of signal at the venue. And you can't vouch for the fact that I picked out the winner of l'Iris d'Or, either. Ah well. I've put together a selection of winning images. Tell me what you think. Winner of l'Iris d'Or: Sara Naomi Lewkowicz for her series 'Shane and Maggie'. 'Shane and Maggie' attempts to show domestic vilence as a process, as opposed to a single incident.  (Sara Naomi Lewkowicz (USA) Finalist, Contemporary Issues Professional Competition 2014 Sony World Photography Awards)

The press view of the awards exhibition was something of a whirlwind (I think the words I used in my feedback were 'I feel as if I've been put through a blender.') but Lewkowicz's series stood out by a mile. The images are extremely powerful, in some cases you can feel the fear seeping out of them, but she's accomplished something wonderful in being able to capture them.

Winner of the Open Category: Chen Li for his 'Rain in an Ancient Town' (Chen Li (China) Winner Open Travel 2014 Sony World Photography Awards)

I don't think that I've any desire to attempt to cross a pillared bridge in the pouring rain, but this photo does make me want to try it, all the same.

Winner of the Youth category: Paulina Metzscher (Paulina Metzscher (Germany) Winner Youth Portraits 2014 Sony World Photography Awards)

The three finalists in the Youth category all submitted very strong images. If they're the future, I think the medium's safe.

Light Projection 18 - Thomas Brummett (USA) Conceptual, Professional Competition, 2014 Sony World Photography Awards

Protesters against the government of Tayip Erdogan and his plans for a shopping mall and pedestrianised area in the centre of Instanbul - Guy Martin (UK) Current Affairs Professional Competition, 2014 Sony World Photography Awards

Wet Dog 2, Sophie Gamand (France) Portraiture Competition, 2014 Sony World Photography Awards

The Cold Pony, Gert van den Bosch (Netherlands) Winner Open Nature&Wildlife, 2014 Sony World Photography Awards

The Ilex Press brings you the Photographer's Eye video app

Should you be the kind of learner who thrives using video, there's a brand new modular photography course available from the Ilex Press based around Michael Freeman's hugely successful book The Photographer's Eye. The course comprises six masterclasses covering camera and lens, framing and composition, exposure and light, light and colour, locations, and storytelling in pictures, broken down into 36 episodes, for example shooting into the sun, or coverting to black and white, and including over three hours of video and 150 images. As each episode is individually downloadable, you can build a learning experience to suit you and your needs.

A closer look at setting up a still life shot

The idea is that it's both creative and practical: giving you the resources to create images that are not only technically perfect, but also creative, and visually stimulating. There's a taster video to give you an idea of what's on offer.

The first episode is free and each one costs 69p after that.

It's ready to rock and roll on your iPad right now, and will be coming to Android devices very soon.

Enough to make your mouth water? The winners of the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2014

The winners of the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2014 were unveiled earlier this week, with the over all prize of £5,000 going to Tessa Bunney for her photo Noodle Making, drawn from the Food in Action category. According to Andy Macdonald, who sat on the judging panel: 'The competition was intensely fierce, there were 6000 images entered internationally and the standard was phenomenal. Tessa’s image stood out from the rest, however, for its beautiful composition, the expression of utter absorption on its subject’s face, and the capture of a perfect moment in time as the noodle dough flies through the air.' Philip Harben Award for Food in Action: Tessa Bunney (UK/PDR of Lao) - Noodle Making.

What do you think? Is this is a competition-winning entry? Do you agree with the judges about the shot perfectly capturing a moment in time? We've put some of the other category-winning images here so that you can compare, along with two of the Young People's entries, too.

Food Bloggers: Aniko Meneghinine Szabo (Italy) - Making Strawberry Sauce

Cream of the Crop: Louise Lister (Australia) - Spanner Crab

An Apple a Day: William Hondokosumo (Indonesia) - A Week’s Apples

Young 11-14: Katie Woodhouse (UK) - Lollipop Lawn

Young 10 & Under: Eden Crossley (UK) - Cheeky Monkey

Loom's next step in image management: joining with Dropbox

Last week was a big week for Dropbox, with the unveiling of its 'Home for Life' project, the introduction of Carousel, and the appointment of new board members. This week, its expansion continues as it adds photo storage and systematisation app Loom to its family of purchases. Loom is an app that we've featured a few times here on Photocritic. It's a stylish interface that allows you to keep track of photos taken on different devices in one place. I've used it as a repository for my mobile photos because of its easy auto-upload feature. Now, unless I request a zip file of my data, they're all going to be switched to Dropbox.

Dropbox + Loom = Less choice for image storage?

What impact will this have on Loom customers, or potential customers?

  • No more new enrollments are being accepted. If you were thinking of signing up but hadn't done so yet, sorry, you're too late
  • Existing users will be able to use Loom until 16 May 2014
  • There should follow a seamless transfer of data from Loom to Dropbox, with further instructions coming by email
  • Customers who wish to switch to Carousel will receive the same amount of free space that they had on Loom on Dropbox, forever. Paid users will receive the same quota on Carousel/Dropbox for free, for an entire year
  • For those Loom users who don't want to make the switch to Dropbox, a zip file of their entire libraries, including albums, can be requested.

If you were someone who was using Dropbox and Loom in tandem to store and organise images (one as your primary source and the other as a back-up, for example) it's a bit of a bugger, really.

In an email to Loom users, the team stated that: 'We know this is a big deal. This decision was made with great care. We have worked hard on our product and feel that our vision aligns perfectly with Dropbox’s vision for Carousel.' Maybe it was a case of converging ideals, or perhaps it was a case of a graceful surrender rather than a bloody fight to the death, but the merger is indicative of what an interesting and brutal battleground the cloud space is right now. The Big Guys are taking image hosting, storage, and sharing seriously with Google+, Flickr, and Amazon Cloud Drive offering increasingly desirable packages. The Little Guys are having to find ways to differentiate themselves and preserve their markets before they go the way of Everpix.

Flickr 3.0 for iOS and Android is unveiled

At the end of March I noticed that Flickr 3.0 for iOS and Android seemed to be in the works. Today, it has been unleashed on the world. Well, I say 'unleashed on the world' but it's more like a steady trickle out to users. I've not an update for my phone yet. The updated app offers 14 live preview filters, so that you see what a photo will look like under their influence before you take it, and record 30 seconds of HD video using one of them, too. There's also a suite of editing tools that ranges from click-to-select filters, vignettes, and auto-enhance to more sophisticated tools like colour balance, levels, and exposure.

Apply filters as you shoot

Auto-sync, which automatically backed-up photos from iOS phones to Flickr, is now available across the board, letting you make easier use of that 1TB of storage space and keep images safe.

There's also meant to be a new and improved search function that lets you sift through images faster and easier that can define images based on when and where they were taken and what features in them and an enhanced information screen that lets you find out more about where a photo was taken as well as which camera and lens were used to create it.

Easier image organisation

Finally, sharing photos to other networks such as Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook just got easier.

Colour me intrigued to know what it'll look like.

Update: You'll need to be running iOS 7 for the update to reach your iPhone.

Click, snap, hang: showing off your prints with Fotobit

You've created a stream of several hundred, maybe even thousand, Instagram images that you love. There are landscapes and portraits and birthday cakes and bumble bees and holiday photos and you're really rather proud of a few. Now what do you do with them? Fotobit thinks that you should print them and display them in its nifty interlocking, extendable frame system that its launching on Kickstarter right now. You start with one 4×4" frame to which you can attach more frames—left or right, up or down—creating a block of images on a wall, a line of them around a room, or a zig-zag pattern of pictures. As you take more photos you can extend your display or re-arrange it to accommodate the new images.

Arrange and re-arrange with Fotobit

Fotobit has already achieved its Kickstarter funding goal, but you can still pledge $30 for a three-pack of frames, $45 for a six-pack, or $65 for a nine-pack (but there aren't many of those left; when they're gone, the price goes up to $80). And there are much larger packs of frames available for even bigger pledges. The Fotobit team has signed-off on the final design and production samples; it's waiting on the Kickstarter funds to place a minimum order of frames with its manufacturers, which means that if everything goes to plan, backers should have their frames by the end of May.

First it came in black, but there are white options now, too!

'There’s nothing better than the nostalgic feeling you get when reliving a memory through a photo and I was looking for a way to share and display the countless photos I’ve taken with Instagram in a more permanent way,' says Alan Yeung, Fotobit co-founder. 'Traditional frames made the task too daunting, so that’s when I came up with Fotobit, which I hope inspires people to get photos out of their phone and onto their walls.'

You've until 24 April to make a pledge via Kickstarter.

Photos exhibited in a botanic garden? It's IGPOTY at Lacock Abbey

If you're looking for something to do over the Easter break, how about combining a trip to the home of photography with a browse of some of the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition's winning images? It was at Lacock Abbey where William Henry Fox Talbot invented and completed the first photographic negative procedure. Now, Lacock Abbey is owned by the National Trust and between 5 April and 22 May 2014, it will be hosting a selection of the International Garden Photographer of the Year winning entries, outdoors, in its Botanic Garden.

Hydrangeas in my Garden by Andrzej Bochenski (2nd place, The Beauty of Plants category)

Although the competition is run in conjunction with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the main exhibition is held there each year, there's a rolling programme of touring exhibitions with Lacock Abbey being first on the list.

'Our wonderful fragrant flower borders are coming into bloom, so the exhibition will be a delight for all the senses really,' says Kristine Heuser, Marketing and Communications Officer at Lacock. 'Photography is very close to our heart, so we are delighted to have the exhibition back again this year.'

The exhibition is open between 10:30 and 17:30 everyday, 5 April to 22 May 2014. Normal National Trust admission charges apply, so please consult its website for details.

There's a new photography festival coming to Oxford and it wants your help!

From 14 September to 5 October this year, Oxford will be awash with photographers of all stripes and experience as Photography Oxford brings them together for its inaugural international photography festival to enjoy a wealth of exhibitions, talks, films, workshops, and general picture-taking fun. It's doubtful that you'll be able to move in Oxford without finding something photographic going on, including:

  • exhibitions in colleges, libraries, galleries, museums, and maybe even a giant safe (honestly, I have no idea, but it sounds intriguing)
  • talks on a wide range of photography-related issues
  • five nights of movie classics at the festival’s pop-up drive-in cinema (pray for decent weather)
  • a series of critically acclaimed features and documentaries at the Phoenix Picturehouse
  • workshops for photographers at all levels
  • an education programme run in conjunction with local schools
  • competitions where you can pit your own photography skills against the ‘pros’
  • and much, much more

Going?

You can keep up to date with what'll be going on by keeping an eye on Photography Oxford's website, which'll be updated with the latest festival news.

But rather than an ordinary guide to the festival, the team behind Photography Oxford will be publishing a festival newspaper to get people to the right places at the right times, provide booking information, and spread some knowledge with articles relating to photography and Oxford. This is where you come in. They want a snappy name for the newspaper. It doesn't necessarily have to be photography-related, but it does need to be memorable.

If it's your suggestion that the judging team settles on, you and a guest will be invited to attend the festival's launch party on Friday 12 September 2014 at the Bodeian's Divity School, from 18:00 to 20:00.

To enter, tweet your clever, punny, and witty suggestions to @PhotographyOx or post them on the festival's Facebook page. The closing date is Wednesday 30 April and the team will announce the winning suggestion on Twitter and Facebook by Friday 30 May.

Best of luck!