I feel a lecture coming on…

The following was left as a comment on Micahel Bazeley’s blog. Began as a comment and grew into a lecture.

Yes, slideshows can be boring…and I think (this is just a guess) it may be because the photographers line up their photos and let the editing program run it. They are not listening to the beat of the music, the cadance and content of the interviews as video folk do.

My biggest fear with still photogs moving over to video is that we will loose something unique and powerful – the vision of great still photographers who are able to define precise slices of time. I hear that some newspapers are looking at handing camcorders over to still photogs and using the video on the website and frame-grabbing from the video for stills. Two things wrong with this: you end up with all horizontal photos and you turn your photo staff into technicians plagiarizing from themselves. (Add-on: let them have two cameras and let them decide which to use/when. Some moments call for a clearly defined single shot. Some stories are driven by moving visuals and sound.)

If newspapers want video, they should look at the many talented videojournalists out there – coming out of college and currently working in the broadcast industry. Why reinvent the wheel? Broadcasting is dying, although not as quickly as print media. We are all going to have to be fully committed to the Internet eventually. (Hint: large papers might consider bringing a videojournalist on staff to provide the expertise…or even host a photographer exchange with a local station. Both sides would benefit.)

Finally…as much as still photographers say they are neutral (and I know they are), often their images evoke an attidute…a position. Too often this comes from knowing that there is a reporterr who will report both sides while the photographer seeks strong images. Too often these images are one-sided because the photographer is covering an event or focusing on a particular issue. Broadcast photogs generally are mandated to get information from both sides to include in stories…interviews and visuals. Not always done, but that is the rule.


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