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Category Archives: Actual Pictures

This has popped up in a few places from a few people, and I’ve been just enough out of it to not remember who has sent it to me. So, whoever you are, um, thanks …

This month’s National Geographic has a cover story on redwoods – the massive, ancient trees. And there’s a foldout image that will blow your mind away. NPR did a story on how it was made, and Gizmodo has one, too.

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The New York Times‘ Lens blog (really, a must read at this point) has an essay up by David Hume Kennerly where he talks about a photo he shot of former Vice President Dick Cheney at home with his family preparing a dinner meal. The image was picked up by Newsweek, but two thirds of it was cropped out. Kennerly believes this radically changed the meaning of the image and damaged his credibility.

Photojournalists fight the credibility battle every day, from combating digitally faked photos to being lumped in with the paparazzi, a group of camera-carrying cretins who have no respect for anything, particularly the people they hound. In the case of my Cheney photo, Newsweek is guilty not just of blurring but of blowing up that line between tabloid-style sensationalism and honest photojournalism.

The comments, so far, are very telling as to how people think about images – they range from folks saying they believe he’s over-reacting to those who believe an image should never be cropped.

What do you think?

My good friend Scott Bryant at the Statesboro (Ga.) Herald sent along a link to an audio slide show he did on the first Georgia Southern game of the season. He said he’d been asked to get more fans into the paper and didn’t want to do just another gallery of cheering people.

But what do you think? Does it move the needle a bit on how these can be done? And, if so, which way?

Time.com has posted an audio slideshow of more color photos from the depression, complete with a simple narration that tells some of the back story.

I know it’s silly, but it’s so darn cool …

Okay, several days … but this time lapse piece of what events at the White House looks like is pretty cool. Reuters photojournalist Jason Reed spend a few weeks working on the idea and has strung together a set of images that paint an interesting picture of life on the White House beat.

The Associated Press has come under a lot of fire this past week for moving an image of a mortally wounded American soldier in Afghanistan. The soldier was hit by a rocket propelled grenade in August and the wire service held the image until this past week. They were not being censored – it was their decision to hold it.

The New York Times‘ Lens blog has a good summation of the situation. I’ve been thinking about his image since first seeing it on Friday and have gone back and forth on it. My thinking, after all that ruminating, is that the AP has a responsibility to its members to provide whatever images it can – and then the member publications have a responsibility to decide what to run and what to hold back based on their individual communities.

Which is a heck of a non-decision decision on my part, isn’t it? So, had I been the photo editor at a small to mid size daily, perhaps where this soldier was from or where his unit (or others) were based, I don’t think I would run it. My decision has nothing to do with the graphic quality of the image, nor the technical problems – it’s that it isn’t a very strong photo. (That is not to say the photojournalist made any errors or mistakes here – she did everything she should have.) It does not tell me anything that happened, it does not illuminate me in some new way or give me a greater understanding of what war does to human beings. There is no context to the image – there is no cause and effect, there is only effect. And is that journalism?

And, if it is, is it a strong enough piece of journalism to overcome the quite probably negative reaction to the publication of the image? I, personally, don’t think so. And I argued for the running of images of jumpers from the World Trade Center towers in 2001 – vehemently, persistently and passionately – because I believed those images told an intensely personal story that helped shaped an incredibly impersonal series of events.

I am not taking the photojournalist, Julie Jacobson, to task here – I think she did a remarkable thing in making those (and many other) images. She should have made those photos as she did. The AP should have moved them on the wire. But I would not have lobbied for their publication in my organization. It’s not a corn flakes test for me – it’s a journalism test for me, and that image doesn’t pass it in my mind.

Are portraits “threatening to become the photographic stable of the newspaper business?” In some places, they already are.

A nice collection from Time.com looking at how President Franklin Roosevelt used news photography to his advantage. Of course, Time has an (obviously) retouched image in there that they’re not saying anything about … guess I need to write them another letter.

This is a small, but very cool, collection of Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information photos from the early 1940s – in color. Look at the way the light works in so many of these … just, wow.

here’s a story on a photo-crashing squirrel.

You can thank Daniel Shirey for this.