Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Photoshocks

20 Responses

  • Chris Waugh,

    Thanks for posting this Russell. You've very indirectly touched on an aspect of Western media coverage of China, especially in imagery, that tends to bug me at this time of year, and how that imagery is used to reinforce certain predetermined narratives.

    I especially like the Wired cover. Very arresting.

    Too early in the morning for me to say anything more coherent, just thought I'd express my appreciation for this post.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Blade runner and murder accused Oscar Pistorius made the cover of Time magazine last week, if for all the wrong reasons

    And like so such of the Pistorious porn, the most interesting thing is what’s not there: Reeva Steenkamp – not “Pistorious’ girlfriend.” You know, the woman that “superman gunman” shot to death.

    This isn't the fucking cover of L’Uomo Vogue and Oscar Pistorious isn't a sociological data point. He’s been charged with murder. Please strike a visual tone that remembers that.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Bag News on the Pistorius cover.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Bag News on the Pistorius cover.

    It's interesting to speculate how much of the killer-cyborg vibe is context. The pic, by Peiter Hugo, originally appeared in the New York Times last year to, it seems, no controversy at all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • Morgan Nichol, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    For everyone in the world that didn't know her, who killed her is the more important detail than who she was. Arguing otherwise seems futile. If she'd been killed in a car crash, or murdered by some unknown scumbag, we'd never have heard about her passing at all, named or otherwise.

    Auckland CBD • Since Nov 2006 • 313 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    And like so such of the Pistorious porn, the most interesting thing is what’s not there: Reeva Steenkamp – not “Pistorious’ girlfriend.” You know, the woman that “superman gunman” shot to death.

    +1 Craig
    Yeah what the hell is happening when the (alleged) murderer gets all the media space including glossy , sexy even, pics . Reeva Steenkamp was brutally murdered in her own home, cowering in her bathroom.
    I reckon he's got one hell of a PR machine behind him and the media have been suckered by it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 509 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It’s interesting to speculate how much of the killer-cyborg vibe is context.

    A hell of a lot, I'd say. If they'd cropped the bottom of that O.J. Simpson mug-shot, it would have been pretty much indistinguishable from a million pretty anodyne 'candid' photos of Simpson taken over the years. IIRC (and I don't have a key to the paywall to check), the picture of Pistorious was part of a portfolio of Olympians in the glossy New York Times Sunday magazine where he was "inspirational high-tech paralympian sex bomb" not "dude facing murder charges - as well as a lot of rumours that he's a paranoid, abusive control freak."

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • David Cormack,

    I think this talks to a really interesting piece of psychology. I remember during the 'teapot' scandal with Banks and Key how the media started publishing stories about the Government - and Key - with really unflattering images of our Prime Minister. Shadowy, looking tired etc.

    The way the image influences our perspective of a story fascinates me, and I'm not we fully understand it.

    Suburbia, Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 218 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Richard Aston,

    Attachment

    Yeah what the hell is happening when the (alleged) murderer gets all the media space including glossy , sexy even, pics .

    Not quite all ... the New York tabloids followed the Sun's lead pretty closely too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to David Cormack,

    I think this talks to a really interesting piece of psychology. I remember during the ‘teapot’ scandal with Banks and Key how the media started publishing stories about the Government – and Key – with really unflattering images of our Prime Minister. Shadowy, looking tired etc.

    During the PAS thread on the British general election and it’s aftermath, it was interesting to compare and contrast the photo selections. The right-wing tabloids went for photos of Gordon Brown looking like the dour Scouse dwarf who got kicked off The Hobbit hikoi for being a buzz-kill. (Not exactly a hard get, to be fair.) And when the coalition was signed, the photo editor of The Guardian excelled with a spectacularly icky "candid" shot of David Cameron louring behind a half-open door. (IIRC, it was half the front page of the print edition that day.) I’m sure the whole ‘creepy clown playing hide and seek at a kid’s birthday party’ vibe was totally unintentional.

    There’s a fine art to photo editing, and you can do a hell of a lot of editorializing without saying a word.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    I was talking to a university class the other day (among other things) about photo adjustment with computers, and how you need to be very careful about what is an acceptable level of manipulation to your audience.
    I cited the disqualified winner of the 2012 National Geographic Photo Contest.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1443 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I was talking to a university class the other day (among other things) about photo adjustment with computers, and how you need to be very careful about what is an acceptable level of manipulation to your audience.

    An audience that’s a lot more sophisticated (and cynical, both for better and worse) that it used to be. in another thread, Russell mentioned David Byrne’s How Music Works and it makes a fascinating bookend to Errol Morris’ Believing is Seeing (Observations on the Mysteries of Photography). They’re two men who, in their own vastly entertaining and insightful ways, have thought a lot about our ambiguous and complex relationships to technology, art and how it can all obscure as much as it reveals.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    An audience that’s a lot more sophisticated (and cynical, both for better and worse) that it used to be.

    People say that. I don't believe them. Our brains operate on a base pattern-dependent level, and going up and beyond that takes work, and requires deliberate engagement. Being informed protects you somewhat, but most people don't have that information readily to hand. Those who do must see past what their brains compile for them.

    It's really hard work to think past a made-up and photographed celebrity on the side of a bus-shelter.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Not quite all ... the New York tabloids followed the Sun's lead pretty closely too.

    Oh god I despair , its even worse

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 509 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston, in reply to George Darroch,

    It’s really hard work to think past a made-up and photographed celebrity on the side of a bus-shelter

    Even harder thinking past a made up and well presented ideology . I think the image thing is the tip of the iceberg in terms of the attempts to manipulate our minds.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 509 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It's interesting to speculate how much of the killer-cyborg vibe is context. The pic, by Peiter Hugo, originally appeared in the New York Times last year to, it seems, no controversy at all.

    It's certainly interesting how the image gained a whole new life once the context changed. Its original message seems to be the kind of thing that fits well with corporate mythology, with all those implications about overcoming adversity being down to motivation, with a little help from technology.

    I remember a prominently displayed hoarding in similar style that was all over Sydney in the late 90s. A men's basketball team, all disabled athletes, were featured in a lavishly lit studio shot, with as much emphasis on their gleaming protheses as on their almost psychotic eyeballing of the viewer. Paid for by the bank who happened to be the team's sponsor,

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX,

    There is a benefit to getting the "news" from radio..

    The Time cover makes me "uncomfortable" - an illustration of how tabloid and low print media has sunk.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason, in reply to David Hood,

    I cited the disqualified winner of the 2012 National Geographic Photo Contest

    National Geographic has an interesting policy and an understandable aversion to image manipulation that creates unreal images, but I think it has to change somewhat. NG bought and published this image which is as it came out of the camera, but did want this one even though the latter required far more talent to produce than the former. The latter image wasn't even considered because in order to show that level of detail from the nebula 60 images were needed, with various images at different exposures and with unsharp masking to bring out the dust clouds. It seems manipulation of camera settings is ok, but manipulation post camera is not, even if everything in the image is real.

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 258 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Euan Mason,

    I still think those are some fantastic shots. I guess astrophotography is pretty much screwed on those rules, the shot averaging being vital. Mind you, that's what the hardware is doing in an interpolated zoom...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Sj,

    who killed her is the more important detail than who she was

    This can never be true.

    Belmont • Since May 2012 • 17 posts Report Reply

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