Worth A Look: Two from Time.com

Saw two interesting things from Time Magazine’s website today:
Adam Ferguson, part of the VII Mentor program, returns to Afghanistan for the magazine and produces a quite nicely narrated slideshow about life for US troops in Wardak Province. Ferguson was recently featured on the Wired Magazine blog Raw File, where you can see his first Time cover. BAGnewsNotes wrote about his most recent cover, which comes from this same assignment, in the post Afghanistan Update: In a Bind. The pictures may be very one sided in perspective (but quite nice as photographs), echoing other pieces from embeds in remote outposts, but Ferguson’s audio backing helps elucidate his, and the subjects, questioning the idea of “why are we here?”

Secondly, while playing with Time’s new iPhone app, I stumbled upon an odd piece titled “France May Put Warning Labels on Airbrushed Photos” with this funny quote,

“When writers take a news item or real event and considerably embellish it, they are required to alert readers by calling the work fiction, a novel or a story based on dramatized facts. Why should it be any different for photographs?” [Conservative parliamentarian ValĂ©rie Boyer] asks. “Rules on food-labeling let consumers know the origins of the contents and the presence of things like additives and preservatives. What’s wrong with … informing them when photographs have also been modified from their original form?”

This is an old argument, but apparently (I have no verification besides this article) it is gaining some traction in one of the most historic nations for photography, which has perhaps regressed (consider the purpose of Luc Delahaye’s “L’Autre” book) a bit from the heyday of H C-B, Ronis and Atget.
I think the sentiment is honest and surely most photographers who work in “straight” photography would love to have some bulkhead between outwardly manipulated images and what they try to do. But I don’t think it is possible, we’ve gone too far and the lines are too thin and/or blurred. And a $55,000 fine for failing to label a photograph as manipulated sounds very strange.

2 Responses to “Worth A Look: Two from Time.com”

  1. Darko

    The idea is to tell all those youngsters that what you see on fashion covers and in some ads is not what it really was in reality — like, it’s not natural beauty, don’t fall for that!

    So placing a 7pt caption would make young French population healthier? Well Valerie: no it won’t.

    Only proper education of young people (yes, in schools!), only strong nation-wide campaign on healthy lifestyle could prepare grounds for some “natural” magazines, books, websites, shows and similar, which might change few percents of young population.

    P.S. I’m sure this law would increase number of esthetic surgeries among photo-models straight away. You forbid retouching of my wrinkles? No prob, my doctor will remove them. And my photographer will use a ring-flash (an interesting sort-of related story). And my make-up artist will do his part. You call that natural then? No Valerie Boyer, it’s not.

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