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Picture of the Week

September 17, 2010

Stefanie Gott-Dinsmore looks at homemade jewelry during Patriot Day celebrations at The Dalles Eagle Lodge Saturday, Sept. 11. The jewelry was created by Christy Strafford of The Dalles. Copyright Mark B. Gibson/The Dalles Chronicle

As a photojournalist, I make every effort to keep my work factual. Simply stated, no changes are made that “change content.” In terms of editing a photograph in a graphic image manipulation program like Gimp, some doors are closed and others open. I am quite strict in my interpretation of content manipulation, but not as strict as I used to be. I don’t change content, but I make every effort to increase impact and presentation. I figure if I can shape reality with my lens, I have some leeway in the image printing as well.

This photograph is not manipulated on the computer in any way, yet it gives the impression of an exciting event full of color and interest. I manipulated reality not by cutting and pasting content on the computer, but by returning repeatedly to the event in hopes that something would be happening. On my third try of the day, I waited over an hour for someone to admire this booth, one of two set up in the parking lot. This lady did, for about two minutes. She was only the second visitor I had seen do so.

Photographically, the waiting was worth it. I love this picture. That it is to some degree a distortion of reality doesn’t bother me at all: Photojournalists distort reality all the time. Sometimes their very presence influences events. I’m not nearly as invisible as I used to be, and I can see the “newspaper guy” awareness ripple through a room. Even if no one notices me, I shape reality according to my own preference. I choose a wide-angle lens and I distort reality by being even closer than it appears in the final image. Or I choose a long telephoto and fake an intimacy that I haven’t actually achieved. Either way, reality is distorted and viewed through the eye and mind of the photojournalist. That is why, sometimes, we see slices of reality in a photograph that we otherwise would have missed.

Of course, making a point or emphasizing something not generally emphasized is a far cry from telling a lie. I don’t change content, although I may well lighten, darken or blur it. The result is indeed a statement, but a statement based on objective reality… truth, if you will… as I witness it.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. clytie permalink
    September 17, 2010 22:20

    What you say is true … I’ve only recently discovered how to “crop” a photo on the computer … and this also distorts reality to a degree. I can cut out the parts of the picture that don’t go with the story I want to tell … something I never knew I could do before.

    I like the picture, by the way. The lady looks to be truly enjoying the beauty of the jewelry.

  2. September 22, 2010 16:48

    very nice shot!

  3. October 19, 2010 22:52

    A distortion of time might lie in the wide space of interpretation or even perspective. I think this might be on of my favorites. I love the color, sense of pattern and beauty of a moment caught in time.

    This is truly beautiful. I enjoyed your explanation too. VERY thought-provoking!

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