Media responsible photographers bad name
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?
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.
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.
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.
Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington
Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.
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 SuzanneR; 06-21-2007 at 07:23 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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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.
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."
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.
Originally Posted by Andy K
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!
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.
Last edited by Daniel_OB; 06-21-2007 at 08:59 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Originally Posted by SuzanneR
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.