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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Quote Without Comment

When we really examine photographs, most of them are fakes in the sense that they don't capture reality. When you see photos of President Bush shaking hands with some diplomat, how fake is that? "Mr. President, look over here. Shake his hand again."...

Photographers relish the accidental shot where someone has a goofy look or half-closed eyes that lasted a split second and which hardly represents reality. Editors eat these shots up and congratulate the photographer for good work! They run these pics, and nobody says jack. You may as well load up an image editor and give the guy a second head.

Photos are representations, nothing more and nothing less. Sure, taking a head from one picture, dropping it into a porn photo, and saying that it's real is obviously wrong. But enhancing and interpreting photographic data has its place and is an important communications tool. Just stop believing everything you see.
—John C. Dvorak

Read the whole thing.

Posted by: OREN GRAD


Blogger bjorke said...

I wonder what brought this on? A photo of Dvorak with his eyes half-opened, or a sandwich half-eaten? I can't recall an editor seeing such a photo and telling the PJ "good job." That is a strange, strange passage.

12:26 AM  
Anonymous Travis said...

Well. Since still no one has bitten on this, I suppose I will.

I feel that one important point he fails to make in this article would be that, making a real photo that represents a real moment is one sign of a skilled photojournalist.

And I realise I'm going a little off track here - but this is one thing which really depresses me about automated photography (that's including digital _and_ film).

Whereas at one time, the device required any human behind it to be dedicated towards learning the behavior of light and the slew of scientific fascinations that come along with it when concerned with photography... now anyone with a mild inclination can assume the role.

I think that because photography used to be so much more difficult, it attracted more of the type of person who was interested in investing a lot of effort into an endeavor that they choose to be involved in. To be blunt, "people that tried more." This aspect served to keep the calibur of photography somewhat higher than it is today.

Photojournalism today is 'shoot x gigabytes of af continuous mode and hope you got it.' Bor-ing.

And what else is it? It's not real.

5:01 AM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

His premise is, " the past few years, there has been much consternation over the use of Adobe Photoshop and other photo-editing software to alter photos that are then fed to the public." Seems pretty straightforward to me. No...?


7:10 AM  
Blogger fizzy said...

I always thought the journalists' claims that "I don't alter/crop/edit my photos" were just a conceit. You start editing a photo as soon as you point a camera at one thing, and not another.

In this media-saavy society, photography has become a commodity product, produced for a waiting consumer. We all have expectations of what kinds of images we will see out of a certain situation, and the publication wants to go with what will sell, just as companies market products they know customers already want. The "reality" exists between the editor and the viewer, and mainly with the viewer at that.

We have internalized photography as part of our language enough that we can ignore pictures we don't believe, and will believe pictures we want to believe, deciding for ourselves whether they are "true" or not. The amount of manipulation the photographer may or may not have used is irrelevant. Since we no longer are predisposed to objectively believe photographs, even journalists take on the techniques of commercial photography to move the viewer to the point of view the photographer intended.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Chris Combs said...

Wash-outs or ignorance?

"shoot x gigabytes of af continuous mode and hope you got it."


"Even journalists take on the techniques of commercial photography"

Which is it?

12:27 AM  

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