by David J. Climenhaga
Back in the day in the newspaper business, the staff of the Photo Desk used to spend a lot of time agonizing over whether it was ethical to manipulate a news photograph – and, God bless their earnest souls, they used to define manipulation pretty broadly.
One always suspected their real motivation was to keep the city editor’s grimy paws off any photo they thought had a chance of winning an award if only it were cropped some goofily tight way. City editors, of course, had this weird prediction for photos with news in them, something that sometimes precludes aggressive cropping.
Still, it passed the time and it beat carping about price of coffee in the canteen as a way to generate interest in joining a union. And, anyway, we all saw where that led.
Well, thanks to a newspaper strike, it’s been a long time since I was anywhere near that kind of discussion, but who’s to say it doesn’t still go on even as the good ship Print Media MV settles deeper in the water?
I got thinking about this as I scanned Alberta’s political websites in an increasingly desperate search for a reasonably entertaining blog post topic when I stumbled across proof that a photographer can still go a long way on a good crop.
Consider the recent shot of Alberta Liberal Leader Raj Sherman rallying his troops on the steps of the Legislature, which has appeared on the Liberals’ website. (Gotta love the NDP style signs, eh?)
Now, I was there that day, as it happens, and as you can see from the good people in the photo, it was a chilly one, and some of them were pretty under-dressed for the occasion. It was so cold, in fact, that it brought tears to my eyes and for the life of me I can’t remember what Dr. Sherman was talking about.
I do remember, though, that he did go on and on, and as the freezing west wind drove me to scuttle back indoors, I mumbled that it’s OK to give a four-hour speech in Revolution Square, but you really should fill it with a million people first and possibly have had your picture taken playing golf with Che Guevara.
Be that as it may, as I departed, I turned and snapped off a shot with my handy iPhone – which, by the way, people, has been working fine these past couple of days. It’s sure to come in handy, I remember thinking as I fled the West Wind, and now it has!
This is because it provides us today with useful context on Dr. Sherman’s run-on announcement, and, what more, provides proof that no event is too small or too picayune to be covered by Edmonton’s unbelievably enthusiastic and hard-working French-language CBC staff.
Speaking of photos, notwithstanding the brouhaha back in the day about Alberta branding advertisements featuring English beaches with North Country children gamboling upon them, the fact it was noted in this space that the Wildrose Party uses a photo of the U.S. Court House in Manhattan on it’s website has elicited nary a breath of comment.
I guess this kind of thing is OK as long as you don’t have a lame functionary explain that you used the photo on purpose to illustrate the many influences on Alberta’s courts – then make your advertising agency fall on your sword to make the flap go away.
Regardless, I’d like to suggest yet another photo, shown here, for the Wildrose Party’s website. It’s another part of the same building, actually, and the words contain profoundly good advice for any civilized society – advice, indeed, that our unprogressive Conservative masters in Ottawa would do to take to heart.
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