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Entries in Photo-Journalism (16)


Images Matter

When reporting the news images really do matter, and this is a great example of how image and text can sway public opinion. The image on the left is of a protestor throwing a Molotov cocktail, and the other image is of a peaceful protestor begging for answers with police in riot gear in the background. Both have the same headline: "All Hell Breaks Loose." PDN has a great article up about how readers on Twittr disliked the image, which eventually led to the paper changing the picture to the one on the right.

The images reminded me of another controversial trial in America that dealt with race - OJ Simpson. These images of his mugshot were published by Time and Newsweek at the time of his arrest, and were on newsstands the same week.

There is a great deal of discussion about the manipulation of this image related to the ethics of digital photography. It is just so easy to darken or lighten skin, put heads on different bodies, etc. However, through the years of teaching about this image of OJ, I have noticed something else about it. Newsweek has the lighter skin, but notice the caption, "Trail of Blood." Time is the same picture with darker skin and the text reads, "An American Tragedy." In the end, to me anyway, it seems like both point the reader to the same conclusion just in different ways.

The television has been in our living rooms since the 50's, and the camera has been around since the late 1830's. We still only teach our children the alphabet and numbers, and never say a word about images, which are incredibly persuasive. I'm sure this makes the advertising industry really happy, but I think it is way past time that we started teaching media literacy in grade school.

Photo Credit for top image: PDN news via Philadelphia Daily News


Student photos

A few years ago, I created a photojournalism assignment in my fundamentals class. Basically the students shoot 4 different categories, and feed photos to the student run newspaper use online and print. I just stumbled onto this article, and all the images were shot by my first semester students. Feeling proud.

Photo Credit: AC Student, Darla Fish


Totalitarian Aesthetics

What a silly example of photo manipulation. A film crew is removed from the funeral procession for the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il. The reason seems to be one of wanting everything tidy and orderly. Read more, and larger images, at NYTimes Lens Blog.

Photo Credit: Screen Shot from NYTIMES, (orginal source: AP via Kyodo News; European Photopress Agency via Korean Central News Agency)


Amorous Protesters

Photo Credit: Rich Lam (Getty Images)

This photo went viral a few months back, after the Vancouver Canucks’ loss in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, and I thought that I had blogged about it at the time. I'm working on a Power Point for a Photo-Journalism lecture and was scrolling through the blog looking for it - only to discover I never posted it.... better late than never.

This photo is a great example of the way in which point of view can make or break a photograph. The two combined pull back the curtain on the way photographs can lie and tell the truth simultaneously. The photo by Rich Lam (Getty Images) immediately went viral. The guy in the photo was dubbed the "Riot Romeo." Some thought it was photoshopped, but it is actually just a great photo. I love this quote:

Illuminated in a glow, they looked like they belonged on a movie poster (their embrace even drew a comparison to the iconic image of lovers on a beach from the film classic “From Here to Eternity”).

-Scott Stump

A bit of investigative journalism revealed that instead of the two lovers passionately kissing as a riot raged all around them, Scott Jones was comforting his girlfriend, Alex Thomas, after riot police knocked her to the ground. Getty responded the next day by releasing the sequence of images shot by Rich Lam.

Photo Credit: Unknown - A different perspective on the scene


Damon Winter - Hipstamatic War Photos Win

Congratulations to NYTimes photographer, Damon Winter, for winning 3rd place from Pictures of the Year International with his iPhone images, using the Hipstamatic app, to make photos of soldiers in northern Afghanistan. Lens Blog covers the flare up on the web about whether or not images made with an iPhone hipster photo app are worthy of such a prestigious award.

I think they are and love what Damon has to say about it, here are some choice tidbits:

At the heart of all of these photos is a moment or a detail or an expression that tells the story of these soldiers’ day-to-day lives while on a combat mission. Nothing can change that. No content has been added, taken away, obscured or altered. These are remarkably straightforward and simple images.


We are being naïve if we think aesthetics do not play an important role in the way photojournalists tell a story. We are not walking photocopiers. We are storytellers.  We observe, we chose moments, we frame little slices of our world with our viewfinders, we even decide how much or how little light will illuminate our subjects, and — yes — we choose what equipment to use. Through all of these decisions, we shape the way a story is told.


Using the phone is discreet and casual and unintimidating.

Go read the whole article and chase the links. It is a conversation worth having about photography. I especially like when he talks about how people respond differently to different types of cameras - a conversation I have with students every semester. I have always loved Damon Winter's photographs and think he absolutely deserves this award whatever his equipment. Reading his reasoning behind using this camera makes me like him even more.

Towards the end of the post he mentions David Burnett which is interesting considering Burnett won a White House News Photographers Association Award in 2001 for his Holga photo of Al Gore. Which just goes to show there ain't nothin new. (BTW Nice article on David Burnett's use of Holga in WaPo.)

FWIW I think that what photo-journalist do is amazing. Damon was risking his life in a war zone to bring pictures home from the front lines. Oftentimes people can't even be bothered to look at them when they come across the wire. So if using the Hipstamatic app gets people to not only look at the images but also discuss them. How can that be a bad thing?

Photo Credits: (Top image) Damon Winter, NYTimes (screen shot)

(Bottom image) David Burnett/Contact Press Images 2001


Photographers: A Royal Pain

A fun little story about the future Queen of England and the paparazzi who stalk her every move. With the wedding now less than two weeks away demand for images of Kate are soaring.

"The demand is massive", says Joe Sene, who works at the picture agency, Splash UK. "The financial reward for pictures is huge. Think of a number. Add a zero and double it at the moment".

Photography and power have always had an uneasy, yet symbiotic relationship...  they need each other... but that doesn't mean we are free to do as we please.


Photos from Japan

Amazing photographs from Japan. This tragedy is still unfolding and there is more bad news from the power plant today. There are however a few positive stories about incredible heroes in our midst.

Photo Credit: Reuters/U.S. Navy/Kevin B. Gray - (I believe "US Navy" means it was paid for with my tax dollars and that I can re-post it here.)


1700 year old Statue Found on Beach

The Washington Post is reporting that a Roman-era statue was found on the beach in Israel. The statue was unearthed due to a storm with high winds and waves crashing on the shore. I love this quote: The headless marble statue of a woman was found buried in the sand by a resident walking near the shore in the southern city of Ashkelon.

An everyday person stumbles upon an ancient beauty! Okay I'm so continuing my quest to find buried treasure... it could happen ;-)

Amazing slide show of images by AP photographer, Tsafrir Abayov at the link.

Photo Credit: Tsafrir Abayov - Associated Press


Interactions: Art and Music

The NYTimes has an article up about what is being found as employees start sifting through boxes in Warner Music warehouses. Clue - Lots of photographs.

Visual art has historically been a powerful component that deepens fans’ music experience,” said Will Tanous, an executive vice president at Warner who is overseeing the project. “We lost that in recent years. But with today’s emerging digital platforms, we have the opportunity to inspire a renaissance in visual art associated with music.

Let's hope they do inspire a renaissance.

Oh and Lisa Tanner, photographer, for Atlantic Records in the late 1970s manages to sum up the art of making great pictures....

“You just sort of hung out,” she said, “and waited for a moment to happen.”

Somethings never change.

Slide Show

Image Credit: A copy of a letter written by Beethoven in 1819

Photo-journalism: Philip Jones Griffiths

Henri Cartier-Bresson said of his work, "not since Goya has anyone portrayed war like Philip Jones Griffiths."

Photo Credit: Philip Jones Griffiths, Magnum Photos