Media responsible photographers bad name

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by bogeyes, Jun 21, 2007.

  1. bogeyes

    bogeyes Member

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    It seems to me that the general public have become suspicious about photographers and their activities. Why has this happened? Is it the fault of the media or ignorance about our hobby/profession?
     
  2. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    In a word, paparazzi, as symbolised by the death of Princess Di. I have been passionate about photography all my life and have met thousands of photographers, both amateur and professional, famous and not so famous. I consider some of the paps to be the most loathsome people who ever drew breath. Since paps have by far the highest profile of any photographers, the damage to the profession's image is unfortunately inevitable.
     
  3. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Celebrity culture. Those who are obsessed with celebrities (including the late Princess of Wales) are pretty much by definition stupid, and therefore easily led by the gutter press, the editors of which know full well that fear sells: how, after all, did Hitler get to power, save by exploiting resentment and fear. Fear of evil paparazzi; fear of paedophiles...

    Their readers are so stupid that they do not realize that celebrity culture (and therefore, the gutter press) is almost completely dependent on photographers...

    This suits control-freak politicians very well, too: a frightened population is easier to control. They don't even have to demonstrate real threats. "If only you knew what we know, you'd be even more frightened..."

    Note to the loony right: this applies equally to the loony left.

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  4. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Recent evidence has proven that the deaths of those in Paris were not caused by the paps. They did not arrive on the scene until three or four minutes after the crash. The crash was caused by a drunk driver, driving too fast, unnecessarily. That is why Mr Al Fayed keeps insisting on endless enquiries, because the alternative is to admit that HIS employee was drunk at the wheel and that the blame their deaths lies ultimately at the doors of Harrods.
     
  5. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    One of those "paparazzi" that night was Jacques Langevin (I think) who is a very good photojournalist shooting at the time for the Sygma agency. Seems he would do the paparazzi thing from time to time to make some money. His coverage of far more pressing matters didn't seem to sell as well.

    Though the general public may not take my more nuanced view, I'm a little reluctant to judge the motives of all paparazzi... that crap sells, but it may subsidize more interesting work from the occasional photographer.

    As to the OP's original question, it's hard to say, but media stories certainly can whip folks into a frenzy, or as Roger implies the loonies to the left and right. And if your only connection to the rest of the world is a tv or internet, you may develop unnecessary suspicion of others' motives.

    If photography gets picked on, though, I try to be a good advocate for it in my community.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2007
  6. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    The faux news media play up any occurrences of deviant behavior as part of its sensationalist reportage to the point that legitimate behavior - photographing children, buildings, etc. - are greeted with suspicion. And our current political leaders with their Manichean view of the world have further polarized us. Just look at the responses to any mention of Jock Sturgis or Sally Mann on one of these forums, and you realize that even fellow photographers are not immune to fear & loathing.
     
  7. Drew B.

    Drew B. Subscriber

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    In the US, we're warned of people taking photographs of public buildings, public utilities establishments, military bases, etc. We're told to report them to authorities. Not too long ago, I was settimg up to take a photograph of a historic 8 story factory and suddenly several men came running out yelling "what do you think you are doing?" I promply told them that I was on a public way and to go "&^%%$ themselves."
     
  8. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    Some people seem to be having trouble reading what I wrote! Yes, I would readily concede that the IMMEDIATE cause of Princess Di's death was the fact that she was being driven too fast by a drunk in an armor-plated limo which the said drunk was not trained to drive. Furthermore, it is also true that the reason the said drunk took to the wheel was because of Mohamed Al-Fayed's bullying and dictatorial management style. What is more, it is probably the case that, had M A-F chosen to employ professional security consultants, they would have told him to transport VIP guests not in limos which the driver is afraid to get scratched but rather in HumVees whose drivers are under permanent orders, when baulked by paps on motorcycles (a technique used, as I understand it, more in France than elsewhere) to put their feet down and keep them down without regard to the paps' health.

    Be that as it may, it is my personal contention that paps were the indirect cause of Di's death. However, my original posting was concerned with none of the above but with answering the question as to why the general public looks down on photographers. And I remain convinced that the clear and only possible answer is - the behavior of the paps! Sad but true!
     
  9. Daniel_OB

    Daniel_OB Member

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    Millions of camera owners and number of color images produced in a week runs into billions with many lucky shots beautiful as many average paintings. No wonder therefore that word photography, and more recently "digital", has became dirty word among painters and teachers of art appreciation.
    The reason sometimes is financial, but the arguments that art has to explore alternatives to the representation of life seems true to many. This fact became the problem also.

    Producing digital manipulations never been possible in the past, with a single purpose to further direct thinking of public. These manipulations, suggested as truth, as photographs, can be seen just anywhere expressing only sick fantasy that looks like abstract painting under cover of photography, and they are all public need to see and to know, establishing a new "image culture", painful to all artists, and just recently to general public too.

    Fashion time is where we live (there are and more reasons) and so one expects to get just anything for $2 (postmodernism = “flat culture”).

    Just yesterday a woman came to my studio with a “photograph” of her grandchild. She paid for 30 photographs to deliver it to her friends now on Satueday. When my wife and me saw the “picture” we just could not avoid to loudly laugh, but lady cried.
    She paid very low price for that digital images but she did not know for other means to produce a “photograph” until she met my sister in law.
    This condition I meet so often among my customers.
    When I used my Nikon F6 on one occasion where many digits were flashing around, one guy came to me and ask “what is wrong with your camara, how you can take a picture without a flash?”.
    ………

    Word “photography” is today dirty word, true (but note “…”).
    Good photographers are fine, not “photographers”. Not able to distinguish between mediums, even among 99% of educated photographers, made it, not paps.

    www.Leica-R.com
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2007
  10. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Suzanne,

    Very true. To the guilty parties, I'd add the 'red top' papers in the UK (actually, and some of the so-called broadsheets too) and the supermarket tabloids ('all the news you only read about') in the US.

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  11. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Sometimes I'm NOT so sure about where to draw the clear line:

    http://www.worldpressphoto.org/inde...sk=blogsection&id=17&Itemid=146&bandwidth=low

    Is this acvicty (from the link to Wold Press Photo) mere photojournalism or a paparazzi-sh kind of a camera practice? Why we need competions like this one to tell compelling important stories? What's the real difference in each prize? And what does that mean to the photographers and the audience?
     
  12. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I think some of it is fear of unfamiliar technology - I get comments when using my film cameras, but someone beside me with a cell phone camera draws no attention at all.
    juan
     
  13. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    For me, the line starts crystal clear - photojournalists cover events which are actually happening and which are of legitimate interest to the public at large. This may include A-list film stars at film premieres or other occasions where celebrities are clearly attending to work, i.e. attract publicity for a commercial or charitable exercise. Paps, on the other hand, photograph only celebrities, principally inhabiting a nether world in which the paps deliberately intrude into the private lives of the celebrities, routinely paying large bribes to servants, hotel staff, security personnel and (I am sure) police as well, and routinely being rude and physically obstructive to the celebrities in the hope of getting a "brawling" picture (for which the gutter press pays more than merely for a shot of a celebrity staggering out of a nightclub blind drunk at 3 am). Considering this situation, I would contend that, while not all photojournalists are paparazzi, all paparazzi are scum. The general public has no idea how the media work, for the public to think that all photojournalists are paparazzi is of course erroneous but at the same time not impossible to understand.

    Where the crystal clarity starts to disappear, as Suzanne has remarked, is that the "legitimate celebrity" type of story tends to be covered by bona fide photojournalists and paparazzi working side by side, and that the bona fide photojournalists know that the paparazzi are likely to be more aggressive in their approach and may well scoop them - in these days where there are few if any staff photographers on newspapers, getting a publishable shot is vital if starvation is to be avoided. This leads to bizarre situations - I believe Salgado financed much of his "Workers" project from the earnings from his pic of Ronald Reagon being shots by (David? Hinckley. I still feel, however, that the hallmarks of a pap picture are 1) no legitimate public interest and 2) provocative, possibly violent approach to subjects.

    Regards,

    David
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2007
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  15. wayne naughton

    wayne naughton Member

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    the internet and cell phone cameras.... and scaremongering politicians...and rupert.

    wayne
     
  16. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    I agree that the "paps" are among the worst but the entire media is the greater problem. Ironically, on CNN's website there is a story about how the neighbors of Paris Hilton "fear" her return after being released from jail next week. This is because of the media circus that will then result in front of their homes.

    Nice of CNN to be so concerned for the neighbors. But, how much you want to bet that CNN will be among the chief "clowns" appearing at that circus? :rolleyes:
     
  17. Changeling1

    Changeling1 Member

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    We live in an age where just about everyone is a "photographer". In Los Angeles, where stars are plentiful average folks whip out their cell phones and small d-cams as brazenly as any paparazzi would. True, cell phones and small d-cams don't have 1000 mm lenses attached but it's the same general mindset. People want to capture pictures of interesting people, places, and things to show to their friends or sell to interested parties. It's just human nature apparently. High profile people need to get over it and be glad that people are interested in them-
    today.

    In the meantime, we analog photographers can do our part for public relations by not leaving empty film boxes, canisters, Polaroid material, or any other unpleasant reminders of our visits.
     
  18. bogeyes

    bogeyes Member

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    I agree that paps can be very intrusive,I saw a documentry on tv a while back where a photographer actually rolled onto his back on the pavement and stuck his lens right up a young ladies skirt for a gee string shot. Maybe it was done for the tv cameras or the guy had the models consent. All I can say is, if a bloke did that to my wife he would be spitting teeth. Pointing a camera up someones crotch in a public place should be a criminal offence.
     
  19. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    He'd still be able to spit?

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  20. Drew B.

    Drew B. Subscriber

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    No, he means the guy would be coughing up blood and teeth that were forced down his windpipe.
     
  21. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    That's pretty much what I took it to mean. I repeat the question.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  22. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Especially Rupert.
     
  23. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    It would be wrong to spread the word that Paris Hilton lives at 1738 N. Kings Road, Hollywood, California. So please do not tell anyone that Paris Hilton lives at 1738 N. Kings Road, Hollywood, California because that would be wrong and I know that none of you would ever repeat that Paris Hilton lives at 1738 N. Kings Road, Hollywood, California.

    Steve
     
  24. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

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    I remember the Princess Diana aftermath, since I was in college at that time. Often I would go out with two 35mm cameras to work on various class projects. Just carrying more than one camera would cause some people to mistake me for a professional photographer. It was the same issue when traveling with more than one camera. People would get a scowling look on their face and ask you "are you one of those paparazzi or news guys?"

    It took years before those scowls mostly disappeared. Unfortunately now the situation is that if it seems you have too nice a camera, more than one camera, a tripod, or anything too photographically beyond a point & shoot camera, then you must be some sort of intrusive surveillance or unethical professional. It does seem that more open minded or better educated (?) individuals are not overly concerned, nor offended by someone practicing photography. Unfortunately there are enough closed minded individuals, or enough bored security guards, to cause trouble.

    In a way anyone who photographs professionally, or as a very active amateur, is an ambassador of photography. It is in all our best interests to relate well to the general public. If there are enough nice people out there taking photos, and engaging the public, then perceptions can change.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat
    A G Studio
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2007
  25. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    That is why I am patient when I am asked,
    "ITAH?"
    "Does that only take black and white pictures?"
    "Why do you use film?"
    ...

    Steve
     
  26. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Hmmm...there could be some "traction" with this:

    Q: "Are you a paparazzi?"

    A: "Nah, this is a film camera."

    :D