Week 6 Activity: And When I am Formulated, Sprawling on a Pin.

When I was younger, I never was a subscriber to the National Geographic, I would either read it around friends or at the dentists/doctors’ surgeries.

Published on the 6th March 2020

The national geographic for me was more pictorial splendor. As Grundberg wrote.

“For many photographers today, as well as for many who simply look at pictures in magazines and books, the photographs found in the National Geographic represent the apotheosis of the picturesque.” 

                                                                            (Grundberg , Section 2, Page 35)

It showed me places I may never get to see and cultures that I had never heard of or thought about before. I was just a portfolio of beautiful images, the stories behind the images may not have needed the context at that time for me. Now looking at the National Geographic, it has not only American but a very western world view of these lesser-known areas, tribes, animals of the world.

“Not only has it reflected a quintessentially American view of the world throughout our century; it has also created a persuasive and pervasive photographic esthetic.

(Grundberg , Section 2, Page 35)

This said it is still a place that lots of photographers want to get their work into. If you have your work in the National Geographic you have made it as a photographer?

Are we shown the truth in the photography though, We are looking at photojournalism at its supposed best, is editing images actually making the image more of a fabrication than documentation is the ethically correct? 

If we look at Steve McCurry who has been a large contributor to National Geographic’s photography over the years. McCurry has been recently confronted that some of his work has been manipulated to make the image more powerful, does this affect the ethics of the work?  

(fig 1)

As you can see the boy in the background has been removed, I feel that this does not affect the ethics of this image, but more the ethics of being a photojournalist. I fear this is the argument that can be drawn from one side to the other a lot and actually have no finite answer. This due to being how purist the viewer is of the image. I have always like McCurry’s work and working on the commercial side of the industry I understand that things we shoot are not always straight out of the camera and some editing is needed to be done.  

But the ethics of the situation within an image can defiantly be twisted this process. Just look at Brian Walski, who got fired from a different publication for doing this very thing.

(fig 2)

Within my work, I try as hard as I can to bring the ethics of my sitter/subject across. It is their undiluted story I am trying to tell; I have played with the lighting in post-production to not make the Image have such a washed out and depressing feel to it. This is not so much for the image being depressing but about trying to have continuity with other images in the set.

(fig 3)
(fig 4)

This could also be said that I am manipulating my images to make them something they are not and change the ethics of the work?

Reference:

Grundberg, A. (2020). PHOTOGRAPHY VIEW; A Quintessentially American View of the World. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/1988/09/18/arts/photography-view-a-quintessentially-american-view-of-the-world.html [Accessed 8 Mar. 2020].

(fig 1) McCurry, S. (2020). The ‘Afghan Girl’ photographer faked some of his photos. Does it matter?. [online] Business Insider. Available at: https://amp.businessinsider.com/steve-mccurry-photo-editing-scandal-2016-5 [Accessed 8 Mar. 2020].

(fig 2) Walski, B. (2020). The ‘Afghan Girl’ photographer faked some of his photos. Does it matter?. [online] Business Insider. Available at: https://amp.businessinsider.com/steve-mccurry-photo-editing-scandal-2016-5 [Accessed 8 Mar. 2020].

(fig 3,4 ) Hopes, j. (2020). Colour grading – Justin Hopes Photography. [online] Justinhopes.com. Available at: https://justinhopes.com/2020/03/colour-grading/ [Accessed 8 Mar. 2020].