Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
December 30, 2005

Where Credit Is Due

Burnett-Kerry



(images: C. J. Gunther, Gregory Heisler, Christopher Morris, Patrick Hertzog, Gianni Giansanti, Art Streiber, William Mercer McCleod, David Burnett, Jonas Karlsson, Luke Frazza, Stephen Jaffe, Tim Fadek (8), Manuel Balce Ceneta (3), Hyunsoo Leo Kim, Joshua Roberts, Hadi Mizban (6), Ali Jerikji, Ali Jasim, Alan Chin (50), Ali al-Saadi, Bassim Daham, Michael Elins, Karim Sahib (3), Samir Mizban, Patrick Baz, Ali Yussef, Namir Noor-Eldeen (2), Mohammed Zaatari, Miles Kennedy, Mohammed Hato, Jim Young (2), Peter Jones, John S. Stadelman, Bernard Pearson (2), Chris Gardner, Jason Reed (11), Jack Delano (2), Jonathan Ernst (2), Paul J. Richards, Clayton James Cubitt (2), Christy Bowe, Charles Dharapak, Doug Mills (4), Israel Hadari, Tony Gentile, Uriel Sinai, Frederick Florin, Sandy Huffaker, Yuri Gripas (3), Paul Morse (2), J. Scott Applewhite (2), Jorge Silva (2), Johan Spanner, Mehdi Taamallah (3), Franck Prevel, Remy de la Mauviniere, Eric Draper (8), James Wilt, Chris Hondro, Jason E. Becksted, Tomas Munita, Dennis Cook, Tim Sloan, Alex Wong, Larry Downing (12), Mannie Garcia (8), Behrouz Mehri, Lawrence Jackson, Justin Sullivan, David Bohrer, Kevin Lamarque (5), Scott Nelson, Ron Edmonds, Kent Eanes, Ben Curtis, Slahaldeen Rasheed, Mushtaq Mohamad, Rebecca Cook, Mohanned Faisal, Karim Kadim (3), Tauseef Mustafa, Khalid Mohammed, Jim Watson (5), Susan Walsh (11), Christoph Bangert (6), Mark Saltz (3), Lori Waselchuk, Marc S. Kaufman, Allen Fredrickson, Faleh Kheiber, Qassem Zein, Atef Hassan (2), Alla Al-Marjani, Rahat Dar, Melina Mara, Shelley Eades, Benjamin Lowy, David J. Phillip, Osman Orsal, Amr Nabil (2), Raymundo Ruiz, Phil Coale, James Nielsen (2), Pat Sullivan, Ron Heflin, Pablo Martinez (3), Evan Vucci, Lannis Walters, J. Pat Carter, Stephen Crowley (3), Thaler Al Sudani, Brian Snyder (2), Mike Segar, Rick Wilking (2), Alexei Panov, Vincent Laforet (2), Robert Sullivan, Dave Einsel, Krisanne Johnson (5), Nicole Bengiveno (2), James Nielson, Chang W. Lee (2), Leah Hogsten, David Grunfeld, Marko Georgiev, Khampha Bouaphanh, Tyler Hicks, Mladen Antonov, Rob Carr, Mike Blake, Haraz N. Ghanbari, Martha Raddatz, M. Scott Mahaskey, Matt Rourke, Eric Gay (2), Bill Feig, Stan Honda, LM Otero (2), James Estrin, Carlos Barri, Jonathan C. Knauth, Stephanie Sinclair, Deutsche Welle, Dimitar Dilkoff, Kai Pfaffenbach, Ahmad al-Rubaye, Nir Kafri, Thomas Coex, Suhaib Salem, Ahmed Jadallah, Mandel Ngan, Deborah Mathews, David Lee, Keith Bedford, Walter Daran, Carol T. Powers, Joe Raedle, Vahid Salemi (3), Carol T. Powers (2), Toshiyuki Aizawa, Robert Sullivan, Richard Drew, Chip Somodevilla, Russell Boyce, Lefteris Pitarakis, Stephen Hird, Faisal Mahmood, R. Strauss, Taryn Simon (2), Adrian Dennis, Ruben Sprich, Jane Mingay, Claus Fisker, Alexander Chadwick, Charlie Bibby, Karel Prinsloo, Gerald Herbert (2), Shannon Stapleton, Stephen Chernin, Gregory Bull, David Hume Kennerly, Atta Kenare, Gerard Cerles, Douglas Graham, John Gress, Alecsey Boldeskul, Jay. L. Clendenin (3), Pablo Martinez Monsivais (2), Morteza Nikoubazl, Khaled El-Fiqi, Aladin Abdel Naby, Andres Serrano (3), Brendan Smialowski (2), Thomas Wirth, Lee Jae-Won, Shaun Heasley, Lee Jin-man, Kim Kyung-Hoon)

If tomorrow, I was suddenly notified that my blogging days were over, there would be a number of things I would always be proud of.  One of the most important is that, over this past year, I encouraged or influenced several prominent blogs and websites to adopt a policy of crediting photos.  (Yeah, you’re next Drudge!)

Given that this post runs on the last working day of 2005, it seems only fitting that I dedicate this post to the unsung heros of the new media revolution.  The list above consists of almost all the fine photojournalists whose images this site has analyzed or interpreted over the past six months (accompanied by the number of images utilized per person).  Yes, I know I missed some credits here and there.  Still, The BAG wishes to acknowledge and honor all these fine artists.  If there is one thing I’ve come to understand about these professionals, it’s that, beyond their own networks and organizations, they don’t attract nearly the amount recognition they deserve.

I had an experience this week which was particularly relevant.  When I got home this past Monday from my getaway up north, I had a couple of messages waiting for me from David Burnett, one of the field’s most esteemed and distinguished photojournalists.  (Of the two men in the photo above, David is the one who more than knows what he’s doing.)  David had called and emailed because I had done a post featuring his exceptional TIME photo of Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame a couple days ago (I think the discussion thread is still cooking), and he hadn’t noticed the photo credit.  (I also think — as is common — he didn’t quite get what The BAG was about.)  Thankfully, a warm conversation about my mission (and a word about my credits appearing at the bottom of each post) straightened things out.

Admittedly, I’m not deeply versed in the marketplace, the technical aspects or even the history of photojournalism (although I’m learning).  Instead, my experience and expertise is in the area of visual rhetoric, and my interest involves the political interpretation of that language as expressed in the media in the form of photographs and illustrations.

In the 13 or 14 months I’ve been working this beat, there’s a lot I’ve gotten out of it.  One of the most pleasurable things is the wonder and appreciation I’ve developed not just for photojournalism, but for those that ply this trade.  Of course, it’s a very difficult field, and most professionals are under few illusions about it.  As it stands, these talented men and women are profoundly underutilized.  Many of the photographers I’ve met are as thoughtful with prose as they are with pictures.  And yet, the opportunity to provide a broader narrative has been subsumed by other reporters.  And of course, what sense does it make that, of the volumes of critical political and historical information these men and women are capturing, only a miniscule fraction of it makes it through the media filter — especially when so many (including these photographers) could be much more enriched through its access?

But let us leave the professional issues and the business models for another day.  As we close out the year, I wish to throw the spotlight on the framers even more than the frame.  Politicians, they’re a dime a dozen.  But the good news photograph?  These are for the ages.

Just a couple notes on Dave Burnett, by the way.  Besides his distinctive Speed Graphic, shown above and warmly discussed here, his favorite cameras are the Rolleiflex and the Holga.  (As a personal aside, my father — who otherwise spent a good deal of time at the office — used to shoot our 12 month family holiday calendar with a Rollei.  Likewise, my son — who has done a fair amount of video and digital work — prefers the Holga above all.)  If you haven’t seen these images, this article discusses Burnett’s Holga work with some marvelous examples.  What I got a real kick out of, however, was this NYT Multimedia piece narrated by Burnett on his career and his equipment.  His quip at the end about the “added utility” of the Speed Graphic seems to capture the sense of irony you need for this trade.

(image: C. J. Gunther / EPA.  2004.  Location unspecified.  davidburnett.com)

Comments Powered by Disqus

Refresh Archives

Random Notes