Sunday, May 16, 2010

Beyond the Propaganda::Bringing the top down under.

 "Under what, do you mean my table ?"

    I feel an immediate personal connection and engagement with the images when I look at the White House flickr feed by photographer Pete Souza.

And I don’t think it’s because of my politics nuance or whatever.

   The Whitehouse flickr feed is a new way of opening up images to the public, and making them less didactic. In a way, you get to be the editor. This is a new kind of experience. They’ve still been edited, but we get to see them out of the context of a magazine or newspaper. The context is simply the captions and the other images.

Every time I tap into the White House’s media machine, I am stunned by how imaginative they are. Not only do they use new technology effectively and creatively, they use it beautifully. The graphic design on their sites is, of course, gorgeous.

And the images they use are too. They are well lit, well managed, well color-balanced, and continue to surprise me with their nuance and humor. And they are also quiet. On the whole, they are not grandiose. They are not what I expect to see.

In these pictures, Obama strikes me as more dignified precisely because he seems more approachable. The fact that he is unafraid to let us see him being himself, feeling a wide array of emotions—from consternation to mischief to love—makes me respect him more. While some might argue that dignity is looking noble, strong, and emotionless, I feel, more and more, that dignity comes in part from looking human; appearing to be full of emotions, not void of them. His team knows this, and uses it. How is it that the Obama White House has rediscovered something so basic about pictures and people, that much of mainstream journalism seems to have forgotten?

Let me take a step back. Sure, some pictures are interesting purely because of the aura of presidential grace around them. If it were just my Sensei running with the dog, I’d find this photo sweet enaugh, but less thrilling. It would be a snapshot  This is a picture that has it’s power because it depicts the President of the United States.

But a lot of these images are interesting in and of themselves, no matter who is in them, because they are more open ended. They don’t tell me how to feel. They’re chronicling the life in the white house and the office of the President—their agenda is approachability and transparency. That is an agenda, and it serves a political purpose, but it also leads to more interesting pictures than other agendas. This style of picture-making plays in the space between the snapshot, the documentary image, the propagandist image, and a work of art.

When you have an agenda of one specific emotion—like pity, or sadness, or horror, or awe, or nostalgia—the pictures you make tend to be more closed. You’re not asking someone what they feel when presented with an image, you’re telling them what to feel. Granted, sometimes that may be appropriate for a certain project or picture. But in terms of standard journalistic practice, I think it’s out of sync with the ideal of informing people about an issue so that they can make up their own mind.
It seems to me that in journalistic photography in recent decades, there has been a simultaneous clinging to the idea of an “unmanipulated” picture as “fact,” and a movement toward encouraging sensationalist, dogmatic images in the name of social advocacy. To me, both these things are outrageously false. But more and more, that is the kind of photojournalism I see in the mainstream. These two from MSNBC don’t give me much room to feel or think.

In other cases, you see simplistic (boring?) images used in order to create a pithy interchange between the headline and the shot. What you gain in cleverness apparently outweighs what you’ve lost in thoughtfulness. Like with this shot on


Alright.Let se, what  probably we , Malaysian have on our mainstream media too.

  Seriously, if anybody asked me for photography as a profession, I would die to do something like what Peter Sauza had done,taking an unexpectable shot,inside-out of PM Department at Putrajaya, despite ,' tenggek 24/7 di tepi jalan, tembak gambar anak dara ntah sape sape  ntah(probably bini orang) pastu upload kat fb,..alahai..Nak layan,layan sorang-sorang sudeeyh..'

Anyway , great job Pete, looking forward for your next shot.

p/s: we live as we already naked, just wait for someone to see ,and if they did,  try your best to cover 'it'.


-u-n-s-p-0-k-e-n- said...

"tembak gambar anak dara ntah sape sape ntah(probably bini orang) pastu upload kat fb,."

ouch... haha =.="

ザ-sylver-shooter said...

eh eh?..hehehe, anak dara bawah umur tkpe..:P

-u-n-s-p-0-k-e-n- said...

anak teruna mcm mn lak?? XD

ザ-sylver-shooter said...

anak teruna kene mcm justin berbier je..yng len tkleh..:P

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