News and information can be seen in a microscopic and myopic manner, or be seen through a wider perspective to see the greater picture. What should we practitioners do?
There was an incident where a media cropped a photograph to report a story, only to have another media debunk its story showing the photograph without the crop. The truth was found in the photograph without the crop, and in short, there was not much of a story to begin with.
All too often, we see news and information presented to us through a cropped perspective. Photographers like us usually crop photographs to zoom in on a particular presentation and therefore, perspective. In creative (and not editorial) photography, creative license is often exercised and condoned.
However, in editorial photography, there is no reason to crop a photograph to suit the slant of the news. After all, today’s mirrorless and single-lens reflex digital cameras all capture high resolution image information unheard of years ago.
Cropping an image selectively in editorial images would render such images useless in an editorial sense. It would be subjectivity. It would be judgment. It would be bias. The most honest editorial photography should simply present the image as it is. Better yet, present a linear motion video in its entirety, left completely to the viewers’ own perspectives.
The wider angle we take on a news or an image, the more information we can see within, and we can then use our own sights to determine how the smaller details work in the context of the whole larger image.
I do not see myself as an editorial photographer. I am just a photographer seeing things and people in my own perspectives, however limited or subjective they may be. I do not pretend to be an editorial photographer. I am a creative photographer. There is a reason for creative photography, just as there is a reason for editorial photography.
I am a writer and an author. I do not always pretend to be objective. There is no such thing as objectivity as each of us carries our own brand of subjectivity. I will always view the world around me in my own lenses, just as any writer or journalist would in theirs. It is human nature. Let’s call a spade a spade.
What kind of photographer are you? What kind of news writer are you?
There is no shame in understanding our own subjectivity and standing behind it. We are each unique and everyone’s perspectives can be a bit of wisdom for another.
Seamus Phan has 32 years of professional experience. He is a professional speaker, marketing and branding consultant, book author, technologist, scientist, artist, and aviation enthusiast. Some articles are reproduced at McGallen & Bolden, where he is CTO and Head of Content. Connect on LinkedIn. ©1984-2018. All rights reserved.