• 12-14-2005, 11:13 AM
    "The Best Photos of the Year" -TIME
    Many of you may have already seen this publication by TIME, whether it be in the Magazine itself, or their website which can be found here: http://www.time.com/time/yip/2005/

    I looked them all over, and it saddened me to realize that all of these photographs, with the exception of one, were all linked in some way or form to remorse, whether it be a natural disaster, war, or death. This bothers me, that this is the kind of media that fuels the Americans thirst for Entertainment, this is what catches people's attention, the negatives in our society. What's funny is that the one Positive photograph that was published in the magazine(Labeled Curtain time, a picture of the 7,500 orange banners installed in Central Park by Christo and his wife Jeann Claudde) was not included in the collection at the site. Maybe they realized that it was kind of weird having all this remorse then sticking in one positive photograph?

    My goal for this thread is for everyone to discuss the following: (In no necessary order, these are just some ideas for those of you that are unsure of what I want this post to turn into)

    -Your feelings on the media and how it underlines mostly the negatives, a prime example being "The Best Photos of the Year." Or, just turn on the 6:00 news.
    -Why, how, and what makes the "Best Photos of the Year" the best?
    -What would happen if the media started underlying their news to positive things? What would people's reactions be? Would it affect the US society in a good or bad way(explain)?

    Please feel free to add anything else, I'm curious to know what everyone here at the Photography Review Forum has to say to something like this. Also forgive me for anything that might be poorly worded, I didn't have much time to type this out, so I might not have portrayed what my exact and correct opinion/goal of this subject is.

    Thanks for anyones input.

    P.S.-If you don't have a copy of this edition, I suggest you do so, some of you may be the future of "The Best Photos of the Year." I think it's important to not only the Media side of photography but as well as the more "Art" side.

    There are 4 or 5 pictures in the Magazine not portrayed by the site.

    "Start your engines."
  • 12-14-2005, 12:53 PM
    Re: "The Best Photos of the Year" -TIME
    If I'm not mistakened, Time only picks newsworthy photos for their best pictures of the year. Unfortunately, so much bad and natural disasters have happened this year. One of my favourites is #18, "Heading Home." Quite sad, IMO.

    Great shots though,

  • 12-14-2005, 02:07 PM
    Re: "The Best Photos of the Year" -TIME
    Pretty much have to go with Jared on this one with a few added thoughts -

    - the media is biased (one way or the other)
    - Time is a news magazine
    - The "new industry" is just that - an industry. Got to make the money in order to advance your agenda to as many people as you can!

    Besides, how do get pictures that people find interesting of other "non-action" news events - Valerie Plame Affair, Jessica(although any picture of her is newsworthy) and Nick splitting up, Charles and Camilla visiting the US, Google making Googles worth of $$, Boston won LAST YEAR, Tiger winning again????

    They are good pictures but who decided they get to announce they have the Best Photos of the Year?
  • 12-14-2005, 02:29 PM
    Re: "The Best Photos of the Year" -TIME
    Not to be rude, but i'm afraid your missing the point, I may be crazy, please if someone understands my post reply with your opinion, perhaps I am not crazy. =\
  • 12-14-2005, 03:15 PM
    another view
    Re: "The Best Photos of the Year" -TIME
    Amazing images, all of them. I'll look for the magazine.

    Time, being a news magazine, will of course only have news related photos in their archive. I'm kind of a news geek, and all the bad news is a lot to take sometimes. It has been a pretty rough news year worldwide though. Their "best of" is just that, it's their "best of". If I read every issue of Time, my choices might be different. Maybe they didn't have any captivating images from Christo's installation (for example, or other "good news" events) that were of the same calibre as the others chosen. Again, it was someone's personal choice.

    I thought the other replies were along the lines of what you were looking for, and I was thinking along these lines when I read your post. I guess I'm confused by your last post...
  • 12-14-2005, 03:16 PM
    Re: "The Best Photos of the Year" -TIME
    "-What would happen if the media started underlying their news to positive things? What would people's reactions be? Would it affect the US society in a good or bad way(explain)?"

    -- They may hear things are going better in Iraq than Pelosi and Dean say (ask Lieberman). Hmmm, maybe we can win the war, maybe we are better off, and the Iraqis have a good life (ask the 70% who said so), maybe we are heading in the right direction.

    then we start to wonder --- was Bush right on the tax cuts and other things - what - you mean the Hurricane response was NOT completely Bush's fault and then all of the sudden the elite media has their worst nightmares confirmed --- another 4 years of a Republican Administration.

    That is why you won't hear positive things in the news.

    Do I think it would be more positive if they did report positively - heck yes! However, the truth is most important - negative or positive. The problem is people's perception of the truth!
  • 12-14-2005, 03:23 PM
    Re: "The Best Photos of the Year" -TIME
    When I shot for the AP they specifically wanted the following types of photos from the Indy 500 & Brickyard 400

    1: wrecks
    2: rescue personell working on or talking to drivers
    3: drivers being put into the ambulance

    Why? Because thats what sells, not just in America but world wide. What the news wants is human emotion, it doesn't matter what the emotion, they just want emotion. Heartbreak, tragedy and victory sells, and there is much more heartbreak and tragedy than there is victory, so you will see more of those stories and photos.

  • 12-14-2005, 03:48 PM
    Re: "The Best Photos of the Year" -TIME
    I hope this is what you were looking for...I would hate for you to be crazy :) ;) :D

    First, I would like to say that I found several positive images in the gallery (Voting in Iraq, Voting in Afghanistan, Return to the Beach). These to me were very uplifting photos and showed that no matter how bad things get the human spirit is difficult to break…this is something the media should remind us of. These photos are packed with emotion and that is what makes them so great. The emotional impact is so strong that you will be on your ride home from work and be able to remember one of these photos very vividly because of that.

    On the other hand I get your point and American News is Scary. Doom, gloom and stuff going ka-boom is all that you really hear if you watch the major news outlets. I myself prefer the BBC or PBS for the news. It still shows many negative aspects, but in an informative way that doesn’t scare you, rather tries to educate you on the how’s and why’s of an event. This type of news can lead people to formulate ideas on their own…which hopefully leads into some sort of action.
    I think the news should get away from the sensationalism…stop trying to scare everyone into watching a program. That to me is the biggest problem, not the news that is covered. Positive news pisses me off …and now lets hear a story about how this person did something great to save some more people…yippie! Until we can fix things like the genocide in Darfur and the current environmental crisis that is effecting us all (global warming)…we should refrain from making people feel good about themselves. We have a LOT of problems to fix and the more we show these problems, putting them at the forefront AND do it in an educational way, the more we may get people to take action to fix these problems.
    I’m afraid positive news will keep Americans thinking everything is golden and keep them from doing anything at all. But the scare tactics do have to stop.

    A good article to read

    my two cents since you asked 
  • 12-14-2005, 04:01 PM
    Re: "The Best Photos of the Year" -TIME
    Just to narrow the scope here, my comments are about he US media. I've never lived outside the US....

    Ratings, ratings, ratings. The news media has a marketing department, just like any product, whether they call it that or not. One simple reason for the negativity is that shock value makes people stop and pay attention. It gets ratings. You know how traffic slows down to look at a car wreck. It's just human nature to pay attention to negative things. It's a form of self preservation. They have figured out what makes people stop changing the channel or flipping the pages. It's either sex (Nick and Jessica) or death (Iraq and Katrina). This may sound weird, but those really are the two most important things in life, reproduction and self preservation, so it's hard to blame anyone for this. They are just exploiting our primal instincts. Capitalism at work.

    There is another way of looking at this though. The news media serves as one of the checks that balances the power of our government. Theoretically, they provide the citizens of this democracy with the information we need to do our duty. We don't need to hear happy-go-lucky stories about someone's great life or...I can't even think of what positive news would sound like. We need to hear about things that aren't working, things that are wrong, so we can help decide how to fix them. Good news should be included when it's relevant to the problem, but good, happy, right, things in general don't need our help.

    Personally, I think too much time is spent trying to keep people watching, and not enough time is spent actually debating real issues.
    Many people say the media is biased, and that is probably true. The reason I think, is because they are forced to summarize everything into short little sound bites, because otherwise people won't pay attention. That inherently forces someone's opinion into the "news." If they had time to tell the whole story, and allow some debates, you would get more information, and could make the decisions yourself. Most people take for granted the success our government has had in the past, and just aren't interested in getting involved.

    Just my opinion of course,
  • 12-14-2005, 05:08 PM
    Re: "The Best Photos of the Year" -TIME
    I haven't read Time since I was in college, other than picking it up while waiting in a doctors office or some other place like that. I do try to go to Time.com every week to check out the photos of the week. Last week they had the top 10 pics that the public voted for online, followed by the top pics of the editors. What a differance! The pics that the general public chose, were stunning images, but almost none of them were "news" images. The pics that the editors chose, were jurnalistic based images. Sure they showed a lot of death, and devistation, but the told a story. The pretty pictures didn't really tell me a story. I also notice the differance every week when I vote for my favorite image. The top vote getter is almost always the "prettiest" image of the bunch. Go to www.time.com every friday and take a look at the 10 pics the post as their photos of the week. 9 out of 10 times, the #1 vote getter is a "pretty picture". IMO it is usually the least jurnalistic image of the group. When I think of a magazine like time, I think news. Sure, a hot air ballon silhouetted against a setting sun is pretty, but what's story behind the image? I see an Iragi woman with a purple finger, and that tells me a story. I see a little Pakistani boy sitting on a rock with a tear in his eye after an earthquake, and it tells me a story. I see a dead body floating in a flooded street in New Orleans, and it tells me a story. Don't get me wrong, the "pretty" pictures are great photos, but where's the jurnalist story that we expect from a news magazine like Time?

    I think it just goes to show us how subjective things like this are. I know that as a photographer, I look at images in a much differant way than a lot of other people do and the photo of the week pole on Time's website almost always reafirms that for me.
  • 12-15-2005, 07:35 PM

    Originally Posted by jar_e
    If I'm not mistakened, Time only picks newsworthy photos for their best pictures of the year.

    What is "newsworthy?" Since Time is one of the leading "news" publications, what they choose becomes "newsworthy." They have the power to define what we consider news. I think that's the point F-15_Flyer is getting at.

    If Time and other big news organizations are in a position to decide what's newsworthy, and they start choosing more positive stories, might they be able to change a whole culture's outlook on the world? Could they make us feel better about ourselves and create more positive and constructive energy? It's an interesting question. We create our own universe, right? If we "accentuate the positive," we can create a better world. Or can we?

    Great post. The best I've seen in a long time. This is the kind of thing I hoped for when I started the ViewFinder forum. It's nice to tackle the big questions.
  • 12-15-2005, 08:20 PM
    another view
    Re: "The Best Photos of the Year" -TIME
    Well at least Time and I usually agree about how newsworthy Jessica Simpson is...:)

    OK, I understand what you're saying now. In my line of work, probably 90% of my business comes from 10% of customers and that's probably true with how we get our news. If we want it right now, it's CNN, AP or Reuters. Time, Newsweek and some others don't have the immediacy but they usually have more depth. But all of these outlets (obviously there are many others too) are putting most of their reporting into the same stories. Smaller stories might only be picked up by one or two but when Katrina hit, for example, that's most of what I saw and heard from any news outlet. It was and still is a huge deal; how could they not report it? Same happened on and after 9-11. These were horrible events and the pictures hurt to look at, but are obviously important stories and amazing pictures were made of them.

    I don't think they can ignore these stories, and don't think that's what you were saying. Sure, it would be nice to read more "good news" things that often but so far it looks like only one person with experience with any of these organizations (JSPhoto) has replied. His reply confirms your observations. Time, etc can't always decide what's newsworthy - they have magazine sales to worry about. In this way, it comes back to "us" news consumers voting with our dollars... I tend to see more good news locally and not on the national level, anybody else?

    Planted Tao makes an excellent point that I forgot to mention. There were some positive images in that group from Time, or at least that's how I saw them. They may have been part of a rough story but the examples he lists seem like a little bit of good news, in their own situations, to me.
  • 12-15-2005, 09:17 PM
    Re: Newsworthy?

    But do you think that if companies portrayed more positive and "happy" stories, would they still be in business?

    Personally, I don't think so. Obviously there is a demand for this negative look on the world, more so than the positive. It always seems to boggle me how we can have 6 + major news networks in North America, they all report pretty much the same thing, and there still booming in business. There's a market for people who want to watch negative news. For some reason, people thrive on the fact of seeing others do poorly and knowing that they themselves aren't in that situation. It's a sense of confidence per se when you find out that the bad things aren't happening to you.

    I am not trying to say that people are wired to be evil, and we thrive on seeing others fail and suffer, though at times, it looks like that. We live in a very pessimistic world; we focus on the bad and the errors alot more than the postives and the achievments. Sure, Time gets to decide what is "newsworthy" and personally, I find all those things quite newsworthy. Of course, I'm sure there's 1000 other newsworthy pictures, but some have to be dropped somewhere. The media is a two folded thing, and whenever we try to say that it has gotten out of control, it's mostly because a large part of the society has put it there.

  • 12-15-2005, 09:46 PM
    Re: "The Best Photos of the Year" -TIME
    This may all be in perspective and relativity but this is my take.

    F-15, I would have to agree. I am looking at the magazine right now as I type and before it looked at your thread I was thinking the same thoughts. I looked at every photo looking for signs of recovery, signs of hope signs of anything besides devastation……… only two come to mind. With all the photos taken during the year they didn’t any more positive ones? A nice fade from devastation of the past year transitioning into the progresses made would have shown the truth and reality of the world and then shown the perseverance, the pride and the hope that all of us have as humans in this crazy world. (GOD) forbid they give hope to horrible situations.
    We currently are stuck in this media controlling cycle and I am happy that finally people are starting to realize it and speaking out about it. Many of you have said that this is news and I would tend to agree, but I believe that the positives are also news. More so then the devastations. The turmoil and the trauma that we go through is just the very small part of what makes us, its really how we hold ourselves up after the fact, how we rebuild and recover is what will make us better humans and make better futures for all. Showing the bad side helps to keep us grounded, showing us it doesn’t take much to flip out lives upside down, but really…… how much bad is more than enough to the point its actually corruptive? You have to show both, but I feel positive lessons are better learned……….
  • 12-15-2005, 11:59 PM
    Re: "The Best Photos of the Year" -TIME
    It doesn't matter what country you live in, the media is hyping the bad over the good in all countries. I remember travelling in Europe in 1972, and every night on TV I saw the Vietnam war get top billing, and it seemed like I was still in the US. It's one of many things that stuck with me all these years after spending 6 weeks travelling with my parents.

    As a sports photographer I am probably just as guilty of portraying the bad more than the good, not by choice, but it pays the bills. The agony of defeat sells papers as much as the thrill of victory....unfortunately in my county there is more defeat than victory :( , either way I get the shots they want, and they specifically ask for those, even the ones that show the pain of losing you last game.
    One of my favorite shots is of a huge empty soccer field, black sky and background, and a lone senior soccer player laying face down on the ground with his hands covering his face...not a soul around him. His team lost and was out of the tournament, his final game ever. It was a powerfull shot, so much so the paper originally was going to run it black and white but decided instead to make it color and around 1/4 of the page, which made it an even stronger image in print.
    His coach put that photo up in their lockerroom, and this year every player had to look at it as they went out to practice or to play a game.....incentive, this is what happens if you lose. That team lost again this year to the same team, but it was a much better game. So, even some good can come from a bad scene, in this case the kids worked harder, and almost won the game.

  • 12-16-2005, 01:13 PM
    Re: "The Best Photos of the Year" -TIME
    If we stopped begging for this crap they wouldn't be peddling it to us.