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Thursday, 07 February 2013


Oh to be young and "more expendable" again. Those were the days my friend...

"having a large organization backing you up reduces the dangers."

Really? How does a large organization make bombs and bullets less lethal? The US Dept. of Defense (a rather large organization) has not cracked that one yet.


The issue is neither deep nor thorny. If some person wants to travel to a dangerous place and make some photographs in the hope that he/she can sell them, it's their life and their decision. No person is forcing them. No organization is coercing them.

Freedom. It's a wonderful thing.

Setting aside any personal agenda the paper may have, refusing to accept submissions of photographs based on the risk involved in taking the photograph is a very slippery slope I think best avoided.


Thanks Mike, thanks John Camp, a very fine 'comment', which is indicative of why this blog is elevated, for me, to a daily read.
Mark Walker.

Just watch this film and it will answer most questions about young inexperienced photographers in a war zone.

Well "staffers" aren't bullet-proof !! Two of our finest, Tim Hetherington (Restrepo) and Chris Hondros died in Masrata,Libya April 2011 and left families and friends. Please be respectful of a!! war photographers trying to get the story.

The local people take photographs because they care; they want the world to know what is happening in their country. Anyone who has been on the front-line knows this. I have been in Israel and the Afghan-Pakistan Border Country. When we say "so and so won a Pulitzer Prize for Photojournalism" we need to state where it took place. eg "Life of the Land, an American Family" doesn't compare to war-photography. I am very disappointed in The Sunday Times. What would Don McCullin think...!!!

I'm with JC. People should not be enticed by money into being killed because newspapers want to sell copy without paying for a professional crew to cover the event.

We have become desensitised to war anyway. A few years without hundreds of graphic shots of victims may actually rekindle our sensitivity to death.

Perhaps if we could smell it, we'd care more.

"It is dangerous to read newspaper ..." I do not get this poem especially non-American. But this posting finally may tell us why "I am the cause" make some sense in some way.

One may even say it is sort of Hunger Games like ... it is not about sympathy but just enjoy others' misfortune ... They fight we watch ..

Rightly stop that.

Of course, there are still chances that some of these photos and videos may be important sometimes for various clauses.

It's not simple. There are also plenty of freelancers who are not desperate locals.

Thank You, John.

Thia ia Rupert Murdoch we are discussing, I cannot believe they are doing this for lofty motives.

The Sunday Times used to be a great investigative paper, and to Brits of my generation once exemplified photojournalism through its Sunday magazine supplements. They gave a platform to Don McCullin among others.

I have long felt that images of war have lost a great deal of significance in this age of 24-7 news coverage that doubles as entertainment. We are overloaded with violence through the media in so many ways we have become incapable of processing events.
I have withdrawn from the endless cycle of death and destruction "news" as I no longer want to be complicit.

As long as people profit from others suffering the wars will continue. Journalists and photographers rushing from conflict to
conflict only prolong events. It is simply to valuable.

"A salaried staffer can make an objective decision about whether to take a particular risk: he'll get paid whether he takes it or not."

In this day of declining staffs and increasing competition for jobs... I wonder how true this really is. Sex sells, and if you won't, the next one will.

It can be astonishing to see footage of a 'clash' between locals and miltia sometimes, where for every combatant there seem to be as many people trying to capture the moment. Many of those armed with a camera phone don't get their picture broadcast because they end up dead. This is a comment, not a judgement. I agree that the enticement to sell a frontline image must be great, but also, there are reasons to document certain events, not necessarily for financial gain. However, the helpfulness of some images isn't necessarily clear cut and broadcasters often have to state that 'alleged' incidents are occurring or that images 'appear to be' of such and such, because they aren't produced by what would be called reliable sources. Putting aside the politics of the press, it might be reasonable to expect that a more objective reportage can be gained from a 'staffer'. Unfortunately this is where the cuts to media budgets have been made most: re the decline of reportage in all of the UK broadsheets - partly why I haven't taken a newspaper in years. Therefore, in the dizzying spiral of up to the minute news reporting the sources of material seem to be coming, at he same time, in huge volumes and more unreliable from a balanced perspective. I'm trying to be analytical, but, the past year or two of the 'Arab spring' and other events have, I think, shown much of the on the spot reporting to have been a bit misleading regarding the groups and motives involved and a part of the revolutionary euphoria (centerd on a minimal number of locations) that lost site of the objectivity of a wider story. Yes, there were more serious discussions, of course, but the headlines of events were perhaps driven by the motives of a stronger faction who could organise people to use social media to make their point, so can we trust news to be fuelled in this way ? Isn't this why the UN are so careful to commit to an area, ultimately they need objective witnesses, how else can we know who is killing who and for what reason ?
The daring, courageous and other individuals can show the immediacy and human cost of conflict, but it dosn't serve a wider interest for news to become a stream of shock and emotiveness.
This isn't a propping up of an ideal notion of 'objective' press that many have become cynical of, just that we need balance, and I believe that its not coming from a 'democratisation' of the public news reporter: too many other forces are at work.

I wanted to say that I agree with most everything Ken Jarecke said.

In response to another comment: "Life on the Land" was not a war zone story, it was about an economic disaster here in the US that wound up driving thousands of farmers off their land. I am quite proud of it. But (working for MnPost, a big on-line news outlet in Minnesota) I also went to Iraq and flew with the 2-147 Air Assault Battalion and also flew a couple of medevacs with the C/7 101st Aviation Regiment. As I said, I have no particular argument with informed people getting killed in war zones -- I've taken that risk myself. My problem is specifically with a particular kind of freelancing, the freelancing that pays per-picture for people willing to risk their necks. If a person is getting paid a Western-level day rate, and is provided with such things as insurance, and goes in without illusions, then I don't have so much of a problem. But that's really not the problem that the Sunday Times was addressing.

Will these publications also stop accepting and printing images of good looking women and men as some of them may end up working in the sex industry?
They are hypocrites, hiding behind a lie.

But yet we are shielded from real war on all popular newspapers and television media.

In american movies they can do all sorts of violent stuff but in news or media everything is sanitized.

Try to find news footage of a fish being killed on a fishing show.
Do you really think the american news is like al jezerra? I don't think so.

You guys are falling for the kool aid on this one, why not explore the angle of total censorship- which is what the times is really calling for.

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