Amazon.com Widgets



Monday, October 9, 2006

Readers will almost certainly remember this photograph by Tyler Hicks in Lebanon:

That photo was miscaptioned by the New York Times and became a part of the recent fauxtography scandal.

Hicks has explained the circumstances surrounding the photo at this photographer's site: Tyler Hicks: Lebanon Caption Controversy Wasn’t My Fault

...My caption, as filed to The New York Times, was verbatim as follows:

“TYRE, LEBANON. WEDNESDAY, JULY 26, 2006: Israeli aircraft struck and destroyed two buildings in downtown Tyre, Lebanon Wednesday evening. As people searched through the burning remains, aircraft again could be heard overhead, panicking the people that a second strike was coming. This man fell and was injured in the panic to flee the scene. He is helped by another man, and carried to an ambulance. (Photo: Tyler Hicks/The New York Times)”

The New York Times published this photograph in the next day’s newspaper. The caption published in the newspaper read as follows:

“After an Israeli airstrike destroyed a building in Tyre, Lebanon, yesterday, one man helped another who had fallen and was hurt. Cars packed with refugees snaked away from the town. (Tyler Hicks/The New York Times)”

The problem came later when this photograph appeared among a slide show of my photographs on The New York Times website. The web published the following caption:

“The mayor of Tyre said that in the worst-hit areas, bodies were still buried under the rubble, and he appealed to the Israelis to allow government authorities time to pull them out.”

As you can see, the caption was totally misleading. I received an apology from the person responsible at the website, stating that the photo had been captioned from “…a generic sentence taken from the article [written by the reporter] that made it appear the man was injured in the attack instead of the aftermath. We should have used the caption information you filed with the photo…”...

Readers may find the entire piece interesting, as well the resulting comment thread, where one photographer in particular seems intent on getting his peers to see beyond the caption issue, and into the ways a photo itself can be manipulative. For instance, if this was an empty building, and no one was, in fact, killed, then isn't this photo itself a distortion?

Because even if the caption is technically correct, and the scene not intentionally staged by the photographer, somewhere in the quest to frame an artful photograph, reality may fall through the cracks.

Edit: I thought perhaps I should expand on the issue here. The photographic community, as represented by many of the commenters in the thread, is focused on the fact that the NYT got the photo caption wrong, and that the photographer himself is blameless, since he submitted a technically accurate caption to the paper. This is true as far as it goes, but it's a bit of a legalistic argument as well. It's not enough.

Even with a technically correct explanation, the photo itself (any photo) may allow the photographer to editorialize, simply by their choice of picture, which may, in itself, contain a misleading image as in the one above (the man is not dead, he was not injured by the Israelis, in fact, there may have been no one injured in that particular incident) without including the complete context, the photos on either side of this one -- the "rushes" as it were.

This may seem like pretty subtle stuff, and it is, but it's the source of the distorted reality provided for us by the media -- print and image -- on a daily basis, perhaps not even intentionally. I’m afraid “they,” the pros, will never get it – the fact that at some level, some photos are “newsworthy” because they accurately illustrate events, and others, though they may be tempting to purvey, really belong in the photographer’s back pocket for display in an art exhibit at a much later date because what they say about real events may be so misleading. This is the case, I believe, with the "pieta" photo above. Even the professionals, in their rush to get a good, paying photo aren’t really big on this difference, and it’s probably one that is so much a part of the system, any of them individually is powerless to do anything about it anyway. It's up to us to demand more. It's not just about pretty images, it's about a truthful portrayal of important events. How else can we really understand?



6 Comments

Wow! Good catch! I can't believe I missed this story. :)

Tracking this article at Snapped Shot!

actually it's hard for me to believe that this guy is injured. not a visible scratch on him, and the pose is mannered to put it mildly.

as for the photographers commenting at lightstalkers, it's an amazing chorus of praise for Hick's incredible integrity. for a profession that should be in crisis -- particularly based on Hick's previous remarks about how often (at least some) photographers stage stuff, they sure do seem eager to insist on their integrity.,,.

I've seen this photo before, and in the contxt of a demonstration of its having been staged. The guy lying in the rubble has his cap tucked between his body and his left arm. In other photos taken minutes earlier or later, he's running around wearing that cap. If he had fainted from the shock of the day's events, that cap would not be where it is.

The photo is, in other words, a total fake and the photographer is either a demonstrable liar or an incompetent patsy who was taken in by Hezbollah operatives. They were all over, staging photos (see http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2006/08/corruption-of-media.html) Now if I could just remember where I saw this photo -- can anyone help??

Here it is:

http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2006/08/new-york-times-busted-in-hezbollah.html

This is not about the caption, though the photographer wants to make that the issue. The photo is a fake, period.

The photo was staged and the photographer knew or had to know it. What integrity? No such animal.

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


Links



Blogroll Me!

:Blogs:
Adam Holland
Adloyada
Agam's Gecko
Amy Ridenour
Armies of Liberation
Astute Blogger
Backseat Blogger
Backspin
Barry Rubin
Blazing Cat Fur
BlueTruth
Boker tov, Boulder
Bosch Fawstin
Breath of the Beast
Challah Hu Akbar
CiF Watch
Cinnamon Stillwell
Classical Values
Combs Spouts Off
Conservative Grapevine
Conservative Oasis Contentions
Contentious Centrist
Cox & Forkum
Creeping Sharia
Dancing with Dogs
DANEgerus
Dave Bender
Davids Medienkritik
Dean Esmay
Defending Crusader
Democracy Project
Dodgeblogium
Dreams Into Lightning
Dutchblog Israel
Exit Zero
FresnoZionism
Ghost of a Flea
GM's Place
The God Blog
Huff-Po Monitor
Huff-Watch
Hyscience
In Context
Insignificant Thoughts
Iraq the Model
Israpundit
Israellycool
Israel Matzav
Israel Seen
J Street Jive
Jerusalem Diaries
Jerusalem Posts
Jewish State
JIDF
JPundit
Kesher Talk
Legal Insurrection
Liberty's Spirit
Marathon Pundit
The Marmot's Hole
Martin Kramer
Matthew K. Tabor
Mere Rhetoric
Michelle Malkin
Mick Hartley
Mind of Mog
My Machberet
My Wide Blue Seas
Never Yet Melted
Normblog
Omnia21
One Jerusalem
Paula Says
Philosemitism
Point of no Return
Political inSecurity
Random Thoughts
Ranting Sandmonkey
Red Planet Cartoons
Right Wing News
Roger L. Simon
Seraphic Secret
Shawarma Mayor
Shekel
Shining City
ShrinkWrapped
Simply Jews
Snapshots
Soccer Dad
A Soldier's Mother
Solomon's House
Something Something
Somewhere on A1A
Stand for Israel
Survival Tips: The Survivalist Blog
Tasty Infidelicacies
Tel Chai Nation
Texican Tattler
Themistocles' Shade
This Ain't Hell
TigerHawk
Tikkun Olam
Tom Glennon
Tools of Renewal
Tundra Tabloids
UCC Truths
Vicious Babushka
The View From Here
View From Iran
The World
Yaacov Lozowick
Yid With Lid
Yourish
Z-Word

:New England Blogs:
Alphecca
Augean Stables
Bebere
Bloodthirsty Liberal
Boston Maggie
Boston's Patriots
Boulevard Girl
Business of Life
Daniel in Brookline
Hub Blog
Hub Politics
Internet128
JRTelegraph
Jules Crittenden
Kavanna
Libertarian Leanings
Maggie's Farm
Miss Kelly
N.E. Republican
Neo-Neocon
People's Republicans
Petitedov
Pundit Review
Red Mass Group
Shawmut
Sippican Cottage
sisu
Squaring the Globe
Technicalities
Universal Hub
Weekend Pundit
Who Knew?




Blogroll Policy



If You Enjoy This Site
Paypal Donate

Amazon Purchase
(Buy yourself something with this link and I will get a percentage.)

My Amazon Wish List

Worth a Click

CJUI

APT

Graphics

Remember

Solomonia Button

Smaller Button

Smallest Button

Note on Permissions:
You may feel free to use anything you find on this site as long as you're not selling it. Just give credit where credit is due is all. Thanks for stopping by!

Site (C)2003-2009 Solomonia.com

This site will not display properly at screen resolutions of less than 1024px wide.

Solomonia Store


Search


Archives
Recommended

Authors

Solomon
Martin Solomon

MaryM
Mary Madigan

HillelS
Hillel Stavis

Binah
Binah

Jon Haber
Jon Haber

Sophia
Sophia

Opinions expressed are those of the individual. No one speaks for any organization unless expressly stated.

Subscribe
Enter your Email for a Daily Digest of New Posts


Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz
(Be sure to whitelist feedblitz@mail.feedblitz.com if you aren't receiving updates.)

Click here for other subscription options, including Twitter, AIM, MSM and others.


Follow me on Twitter

Solomonia


rdf
rss2
atom

 Subscribe in a reader

Banner

EN 160x600 B

Quality Diamond Crosses