Dean O'Brien's Blog

Britain’s print media losing its way….Definately

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For any of you who read BJP then I am referring to an article which was published in the latest issue by Rick Poynor (British Journal Of Photography, 23/12/09, page 38).  It discusses how the media in this country are using bland images in uncommunicative ways and I for one could not agree more.  I don’t want to go down the ‘back in the old days’ route but if you look back at previous magazine spreads from years ago the images really seemed to pull you in to them.  The pictures seemed to have more thought put into them and a real narrative.  I’m not too sure if thats because we are absolutely saturated with news these days whether we are sitting in a pub with Sky News on in the corner or it is constantly being fed through to us online.   The average member of joe public does not have the appreciation of a good image these days and that is a fact.  Often people relied upon newspapers and magazines to report the latest events happening in the world and the images printed with the story had to communicate this.  Today this is not the case.  A narrative within an image does not seem to be a priority or in some cases even a consideration.  Rick points out that cropping used to be a vital tool for refining images but not anymore.  Designers will drop images into predetermined boxes and crop the images to fit these frames.  In some cases the images which the paper receives hardly have the resolution to fill the spaces so there is no question of cropping.

Due to the fact that photography is available to everyone these days and everyone has a camera on their phone, images are now taken for granted.  How many times do you hear ‘Oh yeah, my mate takes a good photo’.  I know that we cannot stand in the way of progress and that once every  Joe Bloggs had a camera on their phone photography as an art would become very devalued in a lot of peoples eyes.  I don’t think that photography as a medium has lost its way I just feel that its not appreciated as it once was.

If anyone doubts or disagrees with anything which I have written then feel free to take a look at a book called ‘things as they are: Photojournalism in Context since 1955.  I have attached a few images from the pages of the book below.  This shows images as they were first seen on the pages of newspapers and magazines – a rare sight these days…

In future I think that we should all vote with our feet.  Before buying a paper or magazine, have a quick flick through the pages.  If the images fail to impress then don’t buy and walk away.


Written by Dean O'Brien

January 4, 2010 at 4:19 pm

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