The Axis of Video

time_ahmadinejad1Every year, when the United Nations General Assembly meets in New York, and heads of state buzz around the city in black cars and helicopters, two things are certain: New Yorkers will grouse about street closings on the east side of midtown Manhattan as a consequence of heightened security; and world leaders will make their rounds among the major journalistic organizations in the nation’s media capital to get some face time in the news.

This week, TIME reporters and editors were fortunate to have exclusive interviews with former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan (who will be TIME’s 10 Questions interviewee in next week’s edition), Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

time_gaddafi_blogOn Thursday morning, the day after Gaddafi’s rambling, 90-minute diatribe in front of the GA, I accompanied two of TIME’s top editors to meet the man his handlers said was to be referred to as “brother leader.” That’s easier to say out loud than King of Kings, which is the former Libyan army officer’s latest self-proclaimed moniker. (I have long wondered why this man, who has been in power since a 1969 coup when he was an army captain, has remained a colonel and never promoted himself to general.)

His staff was curious about the video camera for a magazine interview, which is pretty common. People still don’t grasp that there is practically no such thing as a print-only publication anymore. Perceptions are slowly changing. There was a Libyan TV crew there as well, documenting the Brother Leader’s every meeting. So they allowed me to shoot — at least for a few minutes. Six minutes into the interview, one of brother-leader Gaddafi’s top handlers began pointing to his watch. A few minutes later, Gaddafi said, in English, “you must stop.” I stalled to try to have a conversation about continuing, but the handlers began unplugging the audio cables from my camera and pushing me away from the scene. The editors were allowed to continue their interview, and Gaddafi became more relaxed — now that the cameras were gone — and they chatted for a half-hour longer.

Later that afternoon, Kofi Annan was warm and gracious, and had come to our offices to do the 10 Questions interview in a three-camera shoot. Continue reading “The Axis of Video”

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Rockets and the Weekly Acoustic News

Been a busy week at the “things that move and make noise” department at TIME.com. Producer Caitlin Thompson and host Katherine Lanpher continue to create an informative and engaging financial toolkit podcast every week. This week, TIME columnist Justin Fox and reporter Barbara Kiviat joined Katherine this week to discuss the week’s business news. The main topic is the lessons from Lehman Bros., a year after the collapse of that financial titan.

David Clair Acoustic NewsDavid Clair is getting his groove on, and he’s on a roll. He’s a month and a half into his Weekly Acoustic News series, and on nine-nineteen-two-thousand-nine he is seeing Biblical signs in the week’s news.

This past week, Ze Frank took on the rash of disrespectful acts in the news recently.

Ron Paul answered viewer questions.

Picture 27And I’ve finished the last two of the four stories I shot at Burning Man. Barbara Traub’s photos from 1994 show a more austere Burning Man, in the days when the participants numbered in the hundreds, not the tens of thousands, and the Man himself, stood directly on the desert floor, not on a giant, decorated pedestal. I added her to the series of pieces on iconic photos.

Raygun Gothic RocketAnd one of the most prominent art pieces at this year’s event was the Raygun Gothic Rocketship, a forty foot-tall metallic rocket in a retro design out of 1930s sci-fi serials like Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon. I spoke to one of the artists.

5 Things Cities Can Learn from Burning Man

time_larryharvey_640Here’s the major opus from Black Rock City, newly posted on TIME.com. After chatting with Burning Man executive director Larry Harvey, I gleaned 5 things Burning Man accomplishes every year that other cities might try. Things like: getting cars out of downtown areas and creating pedestrian space; making people more responsible to pick up after themselves; promoting virtue, even if you have to shame people into it; rethinking commerce; and supporting artists.

time_burningman5ideas_640bOf course it’s a lot easier when your city is made from scratch every year and is only inhabited for a week.

Still, food for thought.

Dusty in the Black Rock Desert

Here’s me, all dusty, trying to shoot during a sand storm at Burning Man (photo by Barbara Traub)craig at Burning Man in the dust

And below are shots of me with Dusty, my hobby horse, crafted with loving care by the amazing Ann Wood and named after my father’s old horse.

The horse/camera was a disarming ploy at Burning Man, where the participants are wary of the media and weary of all the cameras that cover this annual festival of craziness in the desert each year.

But how could you be angry at such a sweet little horse? Talk to the horsey!

Craig with horse

Burning Man Horse