Monthly Archives: April 2010

Anzac Day…before the flag was hijacked

Standard bearer for the Light Horse Regiment at the Cenotaph, Sydney, 1980 © Rob Walls

Back in the days before the Australian flag was hijacked by psuedo-patriots and hypocritical xenophobes, I, along with several other photographers, took part in a black and white documentation of Anzac Day. I came to it with the standard biased left-wing, anti-war views of the day…and came away with a profound respect for the shared experience and quiet cameraderie that was demonstrated. Would I feel the same about today’s jingoistic displays at Gallipoli and elsewhere attended by flag-wrapped youth using the event to display false pride and a misplaced sense of history? I doubt it. Back then it was a commemoration, today it has become a celebration. Few take the time to think about the difference…

Veterans watching the march, Anzac Day, 1980 © Rob Walls

No sense of irony? A Naval Bass drummer wearing the skin of Australia's national icon. Anzac Day, Sydney, 1980 © Rob Walls

Colonel Bogey March sheet music, Sydney 1981 © Rob Walls

Boy wearing father;s medals at the dawn service in Martin Place, Sydney, 1981 © Rob Walls

Naval cadets from HMAS Huskisson, Anzac Day, 1981

Ghost of the Light Horse Regiment at the Dawn Service, Martin PLace, Sydney 1980 © Rob Walls

Naval bandsmen waiting for the start of the march in George Street, Sydney1980 © Rob Walls

And soon after sunrise the politicians were already at work co-opting the day with Liberal Senator Patrick Baume handing out portraits of the Queen at the dawn service breakfast, Callala Bay RSL, NSW, 1981 © Rob Walls

Writer, Bob Ellis encapsulates my feelings about Anzac Day here, Battles Lost, Minds Won.

No matter what your sentiments may be about this, “the one day of the year”, in the end it’s still all just about this…

Art deco lettering on the memorial hall at New Norfolk, Tasmania, © Rob Walls 2007

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Filed under Australian, Opinion, Photographer, Photography, Photojournalism, Rob Walls

Tourism Australia backs down on rights grab

Due to pressure applied from all directions, it looks like Tourism Australia have had second thoughts about their photo competition copyright grab. A half hour ago this email arrived in my inbox.

G’Day Rob

We wanted to let you know that we’ve made a couple of changes to the terms and conditions of this competition. But don’t worry! We’ve actually made them better. A few other entrants have asked whether or not the terms and conditions were a bit conservative and would prevent you from being able to share, sell or reproduce your photos that you had uploaded to our site.

We thought that was a fair question, so we had another look at the terms and conditions and we’ve made a couple of changes. Those changes mean that when you entered this competition, and agreed to the terms and conditions, you have now only granted us a license to use your photo and words to promote Australia as a holiday destination both here and overseas. But you still retain your own rights over your image and words.

Thanks so much for getting involved in this great campaign to promote our country. We really appreciate it.

Kind regards

The Tourism Australia Team

However, as Gavin Blue, president of the ACMP points out, Tourism Australia could have done more in terms of regaining ground lost through ill-will, in changing the terms and conditions. As he rightly points out, “these agressive conditions remain”.

1. By entering the Promotion, Eligible Entrants grant Tourism Australia a non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, transferrable licence to use, reproduce, publish, modify, adapt, distribute, store, run, display, creative derivative works from, cause to be seen or heard and communicate to the public the entry (or including the photograph and text that forms part of the entry) in all media.

12. By entering the Promotion, Eligible Entrants acknowledge that their entry may be used by the Promoter, the Promoter’s related entities, agencies engaged by the Promoter, or any other third party nominated by the Promoter, for the Promoter’s current and future promotional and marketing purposes without further reference or compensation to them.  Eligible Entrants unconditionally and irrevocably:

(a)   consent to any act or omission that would otherwise infringe any of their moral rights in their entry (as defined in Part IX of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)) and present and future rights of a similar nature conferred by statute anywhere in the world whether occurring before or after this consent is given (Moral Rights); and

(b)   waive all Moral Rights in their entry that arise outside Australia.

As Blue states at the end of his comment on Crikey.com:

“C’mon Tourism Australia, turn this into a big win for the campaign and really listen.”


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Filed under Australian, documentary photography, Photographers' rights, Photography, travel

American Suburb X – photography and culture

Sometimes you come across sites so compelling that you have to give up a chunk of your day to exploring them. This is one such site: American Suburb X.


If you are interested in documentary photography, I’ll warn you now: don’t clink on the link unless you’ve got time to spare. This site is addictive.

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Is this the new wave of photojournalism?

This morning, I came across Michael Yon’s online magazine with his reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan. Spent a mesmerising hour reading his reports from the frontline and trying to analyse whether this fascinating combination of self-published, online words and pictures is the way photojournalism has to go in order to survive. His work is supported by reader donation.

Apart from the independent entrepreneurial approach, I think the most fascinating aspect of his work is that it puts a human face to these conflicts and tries to get beneath the surface of the shooting war with the kind of honesty that would be impossible for an embedded photojournalist working for a major publication.

Of his motivation, Yon says, “I was in the Army some years ago and maintained close contact with many friends who made a career of military service. Naturally, I had an interest in what was happening in Iraq–I had friends in harm’s way. But what spurred me to drop what I was doing, get on a plane and fly halfway around the world, to a war zone, was a growing sense that what I was seeing reported on television, as well as in newspapers and magazines, was inconsistent with the reality my friends were describing. I wanted to see the truth, first hand, for myself.”

Take a look. And if at all possible support modern independent photojournalism…



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Filed under Autobiography, documentary photography, News, Photographer, Photography, Photojournalism