Photography, like painting, has always been a biased, one-sided game. It’s a one man operation (1st Party) empowered mostly by ego, some technique and…, intellect.
On the other hand, photography is also a passive kind of activity, it’s mostly triggered by existing preconditions, interactions and moments from “the other side” (2nd Party), either intentionally, or unintentionally; it becomes a tool for observation, recording and/or a story that affects people differently, including the person behind the camera.
Good editorial pictures tend to use certain tools to make their point, like emotion, empathy, fear, humour, surprise, suspense and all the rest. At the same time we expect good journalism to be factual, dispassionate and neutral. See the obvious disconnect here? Making matters worse, readers are inclined to be far less skeptical about what they see than they are about what they read. So a deceptive picture is also more inclined to fool.
Creating a strong and engaging picture is art, while capturing a storytelling image that appeals to editors, photo editors and readers (3rd Party) is political; a process involving all the skills a photographer must have — but often lacks — like: communication, social awareness, patience, humility, selflessness.
We’ve all seen and read news that shook our world, and more often than not, the story was twisted — in one way or another — during that editing process, the outcome may not be a reflection of the actual story, but a reiterated alternative that — [insert sales/marketing/business terms here] or [insert your favorite editor’s line here] — renders the final result.
Journalism is a proactive profession that involves a wide range of discipline and skills, at the same time, it’s a also a curated collective of art that are build by mostly emotions, feelings, intellect and EGO; in itself a self-contained conflict that requires a figure of leadership that could move the entire party and set clear of an agenda to maintain order.
The agenda is that intention.
If everyone in the game are aware about the agenda, and operate under their own terms with that clear intention, the balance will be automatically restored. Big organization with strong leadership guided by a good intention will last, those who belong to the other side will end up on the sideline asking the question “How did they do it?”.
Intention, is the magic word. Use correctly, and if followed skillfully, passionately under a great sense of selflessness & present awareness, will bring excellence to everything we do, and bring harmony to our surroundings.