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French newspaper publishes issue with no photos

By dpreview staff on Nov 18, 2013 at 17:46 GMT
French newspaper publishes issue with no photos
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French newspaper publishes issue with no photos

At a time when the journalism industry is struggling to stay in business, photojournalists have been hit especially hard. Earlier this year, the Chicago Sun-Times laid-off its entire staff in favor of giving reporters iPhones.  

The French newspaper Libération showed its support for photographers by publishing its November 14th issue with all the images removed.   

The issue maintains its usual design, but stories are flowed around spaces where photographs would normally be. The series of empty frames creates a stark, noticeable hole of information. 

On the front page, the newspaper explains its decision:

'Libération vows an eternal gratitude to photography, whether produced by photojournalists, fashion photographers, portraitists, or conceptual artists. Our passion for photography has never been questioned - not because it's used to beautify, shock or illustrate, but because photography takes the pulse of our world ... 

Instead we give photography the homage it deserves. Yet, no one can ignore the calamitous situation press photographers now find themselves in, especially war photographers who risk their lives while barely making a living.'

See the empty pages in the gallery above, courtesy of the British Journal of Photography.

What do you think of Libération's decision to show the power and importance of photography by removing the images?

Comments

Total comments: 208
12
mcshan
By mcshan (5 months ago)

The newspaper could be read and then given to children to color and draw in.

Comment edited 18 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Black Box
By Black Box (5 months ago)

Well, I know I may start a storm here, but I'll still say that the photojournalists have been asking for it for a VERY long time.

If you look back at this very web-site for the past couple of years, you'll see how avidly and happily they dug this grave for themselves. How many times have we seen the headlines like "Professional photographer uses his iPhone in Syria". Or "NY Times veteran uses Instagram for his latest photoreport". Or "The Vietnam war photographer publishes his mobile phone camera album". They ALL kept saying that "the iPhone allows you to take excellent photos". That it gives them "new freedom".

Well, the winter of your discontent... HAS COME! If you want to be a well-paid photojournalist, be that! JUST that. Don't flirt with "new technology". Don't sell your soul for a few "likes" on Facebook. BE A PRO! Or you'll see that it was good.

1 upvote
Timmbits
By Timmbits (5 months ago)

You have a point... but I don't think it would have made a difference in the long run. What we don't know, is if management had asked them to do this. Perhaps management wanted to see what the results could be - to assess feasibility of just giving reporters smartphones instead of paying photographers. When some idiot manager wants to do something, no logic will stop them.

The print industry has been in trouble for a long time. I think that in the end, publications will be selected for quality of content. A picture that any Tom Dick and Harry could take might not cut it to help increase circulation (or hits on a website for that matter). Although saving costs, they may have shot themselves in the foot, by decreasing the quality of their publication.

Reporting on something doesn't make a good photographer, although some hidden talents may emerge here and there.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Black Box
By Black Box (5 months ago)

Interesting. So to support photographers they didn't pay the... photographers for this issue. I wonder what they'd do to show support to anti-fascism. Vandalize a sinagogue and bludgeon some Arabs in their neighborhood?
The most strange "support" action ever. A MUCH better idea would be to publish a whole issue made entirely out of photos.

2 upvotes
ericsan
By ericsan (5 months ago)

To those who sent stupid comments on my previous post, i'm glad to say that it is a privilege to be a" non politically correct citizen" these days...I assume the fact that i don't like the editorial line of Liberation & the buzz they did with the "non photo issue"...Yes press is the third power in France & if you criticize it (whatever their political identities) it is like if you criticize the government and most people (except the non politically correct citizens) dislike that...I do love France & but i have to admit that the country & it's people are suffering under the "socialist paradise" of the current government & Liberation is within the system...l

0 upvotes
Black Box
By Black Box (5 months ago)

Don't you think you picked a VERY wrong place to start a political campaign?

0 upvotes
yverkind
By yverkind (5 months ago)

"...it's people are suffering under the "socialist paradise" of the current government"...
I agree with that, but people do not suffer from a socialist policy, there is nothing socialist in France since 1997!

0 upvotes
Jake64
By Jake64 (5 months ago)

Let's not bash the French. If it wasn't for their financing and training of the American armies of the 1770/80s, all of you would have pictures of the Queen of England on your money. They bankrupted their own nation to help kickstart the idea that was the United States of America and they did it to get revenge against the British. I don't think it can get anymore brazen than that.

1 upvote
Jake64
By Jake64 (5 months ago)

Let's not bash the French. If it wasn't for their financing and training of the American armies of the 1770/80s, all of you would have pictures of the Queen of England on your money. They bankrupted their own nation to help kickstart the idea that was the United States of America and they did it to get revenge against the British. I don't think it can get anymore bada s s than that.

0 upvotes
Jake64
By Jake64 (5 months ago)

Let's not bash the French. If it wasn't for their financing and training of the American armies of the 1770/80s, all of you would have pictures of the Queen of England on your money. They bankrupted their own nation to help kickstart the idea that was the United States of America and they did it to get revenge against the British. I don't think it can get anymore badass than that.

0 upvotes
JJ Rodin
By JJ Rodin (5 months ago)

I like this immensely, no matter the 'real' motivation. By showing where a photo would be makes its point so much better than just filled with text & no pics.

BRAVO !! NICE !!

1 upvote
Younes B
By Younes B (5 months ago)

I think many poster here ignore the sad news in France.
A young photo journalist at Libération was shot in their entrance hall by a gunman. I believe the young man is seriously wounded. This is probably the real trigger for the newspaper to issue this paper with no photos in order to honour him and show respect for photogs work.

If you follow the news, you will also learn that the lone shooter was arrested and his DNA testing found positive.

1 upvote
WeddingEtCetera Com
By WeddingEtCetera Com (5 months ago)

You care about a photographer !! Do you care about "ordinary people" shoot ?
In their news, Liberation did not care about the shooting on the Société Génerale after the one at Libération office
. Only their one is important.
Liberation pretends to be a left newspaper. It is always the same thing in France. Does Liberation care about a French ordinary people hostage in Africa ? It is just a few lines sometimes during the detention.
When it is a journalist or a photographer, it is every day with display on the town hall, march, etc. Two weights, two measures.
Sorry, a man is a man.

0 upvotes
leblase
By leblase (5 months ago)

First of all, no one was hurt at the Société Générale.
Second, the decison by Liberation to print a photoless issue was taken before the shootings.
It takes some bad faith not to recognize that wether leftist or righistt, Liberation has always shown a great fondness for photography.
Were you concerned about (professional) photography, you would at least acknowledge this paper's effort for the cause of photojournalism.

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
1 upvote
mr_landscape
By mr_landscape (5 months ago)

Pure marketing.

0 upvotes
monographix
By monographix (5 months ago)

https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn2/q71/s720x720/1456055_1772840782771165_735514784_n.jpg

0 upvotes
Grant Hutchins
By Grant Hutchins (5 months ago)

What's next?

News papers will can all their writers too and send out the janitorial staff with mobile phones to snap pics, then come back and write the articles in between cleaning toilets?

1 upvote
jkoch2
By jkoch2 (5 months ago)

Janitors include some aspiring journalists. Janitors also see documents the rest of the public does not, before shreding or incineration.

0 upvotes
Black Box
By Black Box (5 months ago)

Grant, reading the newspapers lately, I don't think you're using the correct tense.

1 upvote
DavidC1970
By DavidC1970 (5 months ago)

It's pretty sad that this comment section has deteriorated into a political discussion.

It sounds as though some of you didn't even bother to read the article.

The newspaper was showing their support for photojournalists by printing a newspaper without any pictures in it, to show its readership that "something is missing" (i.e., the photos!)

If more and more newspapers start giving their reporters mobile phones, they will no longer have any use for photojournalists, which means one less career available for people that enjoy using their cameras...people like us.

5 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (5 months ago)

Few noticed because few read papers.

2 upvotes
mrmut
By mrmut (5 months ago)

Wow, this is a really nice move. :)

1 upvote
TitusXIII
By TitusXIII (5 months ago)

Avenue des Champs-Élysées, one of the most famous streets in the world.
Littered with cigarette buts, and I couldn't spot a single trash can.
Vive La France!

0 upvotes
Ralph Lemarechal
By Ralph Lemarechal (5 months ago)

Maybe because similar terrorists groups that threatens the USA used bins in the past to place bombs right in the area ...
I left Paris quite a few years ago, so maybe the bins are actually back and you did not see them ?
Anyhow, don't be too quick to judge a complete nation because you could not find a bin on a stroll once in your life ...

8 upvotes
rrr_hhh
By rrr_hhh (5 months ago)

@ Titus XIII

Hum.. What is your point exactly ? In what is it related to the news ?

2 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (5 months ago)

I can see, after reading some comments, that the stupid anti-french feeling induced by the neoconservatives hasn't died in ten years... Freedom fries, anyone?

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
15 upvotes
calking
By calking (5 months ago)

I didn't know anyone in France had a gun.

0 upvotes
Adrien S
By Adrien S (5 months ago)

Some people have guns, they just happen to be using the for something else than shooting people. A revolutionary idea, I know.

8 upvotes
Josh152
By Josh152 (5 months ago)

@Adrein S

The VAST majority of all guns in the U.S. are never used to shoot anyone, even the ones carried daily by the police and non police alike. In fact that is true in ANY country that has any form of legal civilian gun ownership.

0 upvotes
Eleson
By Eleson (5 months ago)

@Josh
Would you also agree that most weapons in US are purchased with the intent to be used at people?
(or protecting your home as it is more nicely put.)

0 upvotes
Josh152
By Josh152 (5 months ago)

@Eleson

Nope. Most firearms purchased in the US are used for sporting purposes such as hunting and shooting competitions. In fact those who purchase them explicitly to use as a weapon for self protection are in the minority and under constant attack from anti gun groups and even other gun owners who only use guns for hunting, target shooting, ect. Many hunters for example don't even view their many rifles and shotguns as weapons at all and will say "why would any one need to carry gun?" or "Why would anyone want X type of gun?" Further in most self defense uses of firearms no shots are fired at all. See most criminals don't want to get into a shoot out any more than anyone else. They are look for the easy pay day and use weapons to intimidate people. They are not looking to get killed in gun battles or even shoot anybody most of the time. The media which has a decidedly anti gun bias likes to paint a much more bleak picture of gun ownership in the U.S. than actually exists.

0 upvotes
ericsan
By ericsan (5 months ago)

Liberation is a dreadful newpaper always guided by provocative articles & with an arrogant editorial line and strong left spirit " à la française"...(nightmare to see this country shrinking like Greece ...) It's true that they don't care about ordinary people,they just care about minorities & syndicates & of course journalists. The "freedom of press" is their daily battle and their "non photo issue" means nothing,explain nothing,solve nothing as they just struggle to exist & try to maintain their sales !

0 upvotes
Miwok
By Miwok (5 months ago)

Lol!
Must be 20 years since you opened this newspaper.
For your information, the publication is actually owned by Edouard de Rothschild, who's not really someone from left, AFAIK.

3 upvotes
rrr_hhh
By rrr_hhh (5 months ago)

@ ericsan

You are full of prejudices. What is your daily reading ? Minute ?

2 upvotes
Lea5
By Lea5 (5 months ago)

@Miwok. Ericsan is really right. It IS a left newspaper. It has nothing to do that Rothschild owns it or not.

0 upvotes
WeddingEtCetera Com
By WeddingEtCetera Com (5 months ago)

To rrr_hhh, the nameless coward.
Are you stupid or hemiplegic ? With you, if someone is not on the left, he is a fascist. I am independent journalist. I read Liberation, Le Monde and Le Figaro daily.
I agree with Ericsan. This crime is not an attack on press freedom. It is just a crazy man who shots on everybody who moves.
Liberation does not care about the shooting on the Société Génerale after the one at Libération office. The press in France is the third power. It does not care about "ordinary people".
Who cares about a French ordinary people hostage in Africa ? It is just a few lines every month in the press during the detention.
When it is a journalist or a photographer, it is every day with display on the town hall, march, etc. Two weights, two measures.
Sorry, a man is a man.

0 upvotes
HawaiiVolcanoes
By HawaiiVolcanoes (5 months ago)

are you so sure he was a "lunatic"?

0 upvotes
JerryKraut
By JerryKraut (5 months ago)

Rumour has it they are going to take this one step further in the next issue: no text!

1 upvote
Adrien S
By Adrien S (5 months ago)

This unfunny joke has already been made earlier in the comments. Please do your research before posting.

1 upvote
TitusXIII
By TitusXIII (5 months ago)

Would invisible ink be considered as "no text"?

0 upvotes
jkoch2
By jkoch2 (5 months ago)

By tragic coincidence [?] on Nov. 18 a vicious lunatic enterred the Libération offices and shot a photographer's assistant seriously. Strangely, the criminal managed to get a ride to a subway station, where he melted into the passengers, and the hostage drove home rather than inform authorities. Onlookers ... well, maybe later we will learn of phone camera images that help lead to an arrest. Meanwhile, this is not the sort of thing that traditional staff photographers would be able to cover or solve, unless the perpetrator happens to be a luny estranged colleague.

1 upvote
M Lammerse
By M Lammerse (5 months ago)

Yes, but this is the paper from the 14th, right?
so that question mark is not needed...it suggests something which has no relation with what happened on the 18th.

Comment edited 55 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
jkoch2
By jkoch2 (5 months ago)

C'est le meme chose. Point being: camera phones are more likely to aid in the capture of the felon than photo-journalists, one of whom in this case happened to be a victim. The suspect, nearly fired a gun at another TV firm a week earlier, clearly has some malignant ire on the lose. Why hate photographers or videographers, unless ... Well, there's a lead the French police might explore.

0 upvotes
Adrien S
By Adrien S (5 months ago)

"C'est la même chose", you mean? And I believe the suspect did fire several shots at that TV firm, it wasn't a "nearly" thing.

1 upvote
rrr_hhh
By rrr_hhh (5 months ago)

@jkoch2

If any image is going to help the capture of that sniper, it will rather come from the surveillance cameras rather than from a smartphone.

0 upvotes
offtheback
By offtheback (5 months ago)

Now I'm waiting for a newspaper issue with no text and no photos.Wait wait....I have one already.

1 upvote
audijam
By audijam (5 months ago)

what is that?

Comment edited 23 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (5 months ago)

toilet paper

1 upvote
marcmasschelein
By marcmasschelein (5 months ago)

When i read thes I don't think these are the answers or professional photographers who earns there living with photography, correction or not?

0 upvotes
leno
By leno (5 months ago)

What ?

4 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (5 months ago)

What?

0 upvotes
Photoexposition
By Photoexposition (5 months ago)

Hi everyone,

Sorry to correct the article, but there is more to it than just a mere suppport to photographers, or anything in connection to the Chicago Sun-Times affair.

It is related to a photographer who got shot yesterday in the office of Liberation, and who is in balance between life & death.

8 upvotes
JustSee
By JustSee (5 months ago)

Wrong.

The Issue with no pictures : November 14th
The guy shot in their offices : November 18th

Just tell me how they "relate to" a photograph who at the time of the issue has not even been shot?

Are you photograph or journalist?

9 upvotes
Adrien S
By Adrien S (5 months ago)

Nope, it's just DPR posting this news several days later.

3 upvotes
rrr_hhh
By rrr_hhh (5 months ago)

@ Photoexposition

No you are wrong. It is connected to the opening of the "Paris Mois de la Photo"

1 upvote
skitleer
By skitleer (5 months ago)

I haven't seens all the commentary, but it seems one very important piece of information is missing from this story : yesterday a photographer got shot in Liberation offices. I think that it is this event who triggered this special issue of Liberation. They took the opportunity to show their gratitude to the whole profession.

For more info on the event (only in french, sorry) : http://www.lemonde.fr/actualite-medias/article/2013/11/18/un-homme-ouvre-le-feu-au-siege-de-liberation_3515511_3236.html#ens_id=3515677&xtor=RSS-3208

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 50 seconds after posting
8 upvotes
JustSee
By JustSee (5 months ago)

Wrong.

The Issue with no images : November 14th
The guy shot in their offices : November 18th

Where did you even get "They took the opportunity to show their gratitude to the whole profession."?

I'm always surprised how people can invent stories from nothing..

10 upvotes
WeddingEtCetera Com
By WeddingEtCetera Com (5 months ago)

Sorry, but it is not gratitude but opportunism. This will increase sales. This crime is not an attack on press freedom. It is just a crazy man who shots on everybody who moves.
Liberation does not care about the shooting on the Société Génerale after the one at Libération office. The press in France is the third power. It does not care about "ordinary people".
Who cares about a French ordinary people hostage in Africa ? It is just a few lines every month in the press during the detention.
When it is a journalist or a photographer, it is every day with display on the town hall, march, etc. Two weights, two measures.
Sorry, a man is a man.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Henrikw
By Henrikw (5 months ago)

Attacking a newspaper office. hmmm...remember this? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18321160
Could be another attempt to silence our free speech/democracy, although not sure what Liberation published to p*ss off this guy.

0 upvotes
rrr_hhh
By rrr_hhh (5 months ago)

@ skitleer

The issue of the photo less newspaper took place on the 14th November, the day of the opening of the "Mois de la Photo" in Paris and was probably planned in connection to that event. The sniper acted on the 18th November.

0 upvotes
WeddingEtCetera Com
By WeddingEtCetera Com (5 months ago)

The French photographers have a great responsibility in the closure of many news agencies in France. They have a State employee mentality. They want at the same time salary like an ordinary employee and copyrights. Sorry but you have to choose. Either you are independent with copyright, either one is employee and photos belong to the company. I saw French wedding photographers ask copyright on wedding photography for private clients. Amazing...

Comment edited 59 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (5 months ago)

It really depends on a mentality an local laws. In some countries selling copyrights for a photograph is something very different (and priced differently) than selling right to publish one photograph one one occasion. Whole issue of copyrights is much more complicated than you try to make it up.

5 upvotes
WeddingEtCetera Com
By WeddingEtCetera Com (5 months ago)

Dear Plastek
You must choose : To be independent or employee.
• When you work for a boss, you are an employee. The work product must belong to the company.
• When you're independent, work product belongs to you.
In France, social taxes represent 30 to 50% of the product, plus 20% for VAT. There is only about 30% for the company. If you ask one more Copyright, it is no longer tenable for the company.
In France, every hour, 4 companies close their door, 96 per day....
Cheers.

0 upvotes
leblase
By leblase (5 months ago)

@WeddingEtCetera
you obviously don't know what you're talking about: most if not all of French photojournalists are independant. They are not employed. Some are part of a press agency but even then are not employed.
Could you stop spreading wrong stuff about the situation, and remember this website is about photography?

0 upvotes
Wye Photography
By Wye Photography (5 months ago)

Brilliant idea this. Now, you can download pictures from the internet, print them and then glue them to the appropriate space. Perhaps the quality of the publication will increase and people can have their very own personalised version of the "truth".

1 upvote
brebis
By brebis (5 months ago)

Libération is a very bad newspaper, only interested in Paris, politically correct subjects, stating the obvious, etc.

2 upvotes
WeddingEtCetera Com
By WeddingEtCetera Com (5 months ago)

You're right, Liberation is a Parisian newspaper for "BoBo" (bourgeois bohemian). This is a hemiplegic newspaper. If you're not on the left, you're right ...

0 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (5 months ago)

Doesn't matter much if they are or not. They made a right move in pointing out obvious issues with changes we go through right now on a market.

3 upvotes
kecajkerugo
By kecajkerugo (5 months ago)

politically correct means: support the global warming, communism, fight with religion, support the lovers who "loves people" in an alternate way? Like New York Times?

0 upvotes
Nishi Drew
By Nishi Drew (5 months ago)

Sometimes, you need to take away something to really appreciate it once it's not there

5 upvotes
WeddingEtCetera Com
By WeddingEtCetera Com (5 months ago)

I continue.
I am a french journalist and wedding videographer and photographer. I have the experience of African Marriage, Buddhist, Catholic, Evangelist , Gay, Jewish , Muslim, Persia, Protestant , etc. I never refused a Confession. Since 1993, I shot 329 weddings throughout the world. When I go out of France, Client does not care if I am White, Catholic, Straight , etc., He chose me because he likes my movies.
In contrast, in France , there were only 3 Black couples, 2 Asian couples, 4 Portuguese couple and one Gay couple in 20 years. Why ? Because a Black will appeal to another Black, an Asian will appeal to another Asian, a Portuguese will appeal to another Portuguese, a Gay will appeal to another Gay, Etc. Just watch on saturday the "color" of the couple and the one of the photographer. The only exception is the Jewish Community which does not hesitate to call a Goy.
On August, I filmed a Nigerian Wedding. An Invited refused I caress the cheek of his son because I'm white.
Cheers.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
WeddingEtCetera Com
By WeddingEtCetera Com (5 months ago)

Liberation does not know what to do to get noticed, to increase their sales. Racism exists in France as, unfortunately, in many countries. However, France is not racist. We just have a problem of integration.
Sample. A few years ago, in a Stadium where North Africans had whistled the Marseillaise (french national anthem), the French TV interviewed one of them who said: << I am a Muslim before being French. >> In 2011, in the USA, for the ceremony Anniversary of September 11, 2001, American Muslims who were tired of being stigmatized marched through the streets with the slogan: << I am American before being Muslim. >> For when in France ?
Our justice minister likes to give moral lessons. She forgets that she is the first to speak of France as a country when she is in Guadeloupe. In this case, France is only a metropolis, not a country and Guadeloupe is a department of France.
To be continued...

Comment edited 9 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (5 months ago)

BRILLIANT.

2 upvotes
ConanFuji
By ConanFuji (5 months ago)

These days the shots are fakes anyway. Nothing a little PS can't create.

1 upvote
Miwok
By Miwok (5 months ago)

Not the case of Liberation, they always publish the best images they can find, and they have a lot of room for great photo-journalists and Art photography.
Just take a look on there web publication, you will see.

1 upvote
rrr_hhh
By rrr_hhh (5 months ago)

@weddingetc
What makes you so resentful toward Liberation ?
Beware, having such a beef against them, the police may investigate what you were doing on the 18th ..

0 upvotes
JonB1975
By JonB1975 (5 months ago)

And now one of their free-lancers has been shotgunned in the back - on their premises in Paris - on his first day.........

0 upvotes
AlpCns2
By AlpCns2 (5 months ago)

They make a clear and good statement this way. "everything online" may be the future as many see it, yet good quality journalism (sorely lacking on the completely crazy, conspiracy-idiots ridden internet) including good photography is a important and far more pleasant, balanced way to get the news.

0 upvotes
Cyrille Berger
By Cyrille Berger (5 months ago)

"Everything online" does not mean bad quality. And "paper" does not mean good quality, liberation is actualy proof of that, they have never been, and that is their problem now. before "online", there was little competition, so they could sell their low quality newspaper, now, they have to compete with free sources of news that are of equal quality.

4 upvotes
Jun2
By Jun2 (5 months ago)

Everything will be online. Newspaper will soon be history. Doesn't really matter if it has pictures or not.

Comment edited 31 seconds after posting
7 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (5 months ago)

Are you sure you have well thought to what you're telling ? Can't you imagine a second people prefering still images to videos for any reasons (no time to look at a video, quiteness of a photo that doesn't disturb or interfer with the internal process of analysing information etc.) ? With a way to think like yours, with the invention of trains we should have slained every horses, and then detroyed every trains with the invention of planes.

Yet, there are still some horses, trains, boats etc. around. Doesn't it mean something, I don't know, something like "not everyone on earth has the same needs/tastes/rythm/feelings" for instance ?...

5 upvotes
SonyForNow
By SonyForNow (5 months ago)

Yeah, film, lp records, cd's are still around too.

1 upvote
Rooru S
By Rooru S (5 months ago)

Even with all the online media coverage, the way you get a lot of information in a newspaper instantly without taking you battery power or needing data coverage is unique. Newspaper will stay for a long time.

0 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (5 months ago)

Newspapers are guaranteed to stay around as long as generation born in '60s-'70s is still alive. Most likely even longer than that. Sure, sales will drop, but there's many reasons to blame for that. Still though they'll keep on being printed.

Comment edited 23 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Franka T.L.
By Franka T.L. (5 months ago)

Reportage photography and as well almost all gene of photography is a classic example of the bad coins pushing off the good coins on the market

6 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (5 months ago)

Well said !

0 upvotes
Daniel Bliss
By Daniel Bliss (5 months ago)

Gets the point across pretty succinctly, especially in a media market where there are a lot of newsstand sales and subway customers. It's a very visible way of opening a conversation about this problem. I'm curioius as to how it would work in a media market where newsstand sales are a non-factor, where the customer base is older, and where people don't really talk to each other than much about the paper. You know, like the large portion of the US and the rest of the world that are not covered by big-city tabloids and newsstands.

Liberation, given its politics, is naturally going to present the issue in this "workers' solidarity with the photographers who inform us" kind of way. But other papers that are still investing in content including photography — the Orange County Register in California comes to mind — are demonstrating the commercial advantages of such an approach too. Namely, they're not getting hammered in the way that the obsessive cost-cutting papers are.

4 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (5 months ago)

Maybe the market forces dictate this, but you can definitely tell that quality of the photos have suffered. What makes me laugh & roll my eyes, although maybe it's not the same thing, is when news outlets go all crazy "Britney posts a sizzlin bathing suit pic on her Instagram," and when you see the photo, it has awful quality, I mean it STINKS, and you're thinking "wow, a star posts an Instagram shot and with their high public profile & image they post that lame of a photo? Couldn't they afford a pro photographer to post a high quality image? Doesn't anyone in their crowd own a DSLR or a mirrorless at least?"

Anymore, the more your photos suck, the more people like them. If you try to get a high quality image, you're a "snob." Thank goodness McFurry didn't think that way & photograph the "Afghan girl" with a Kodak Instamatic or Polaroid. No one called him a "snob" for using a Nikon FM2 & prime lens & capturing that incredible eye detail.

3 upvotes
AlpCns2
By AlpCns2 (5 months ago)

Hopefully, in the end, quality will win out.

0 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (5 months ago)

That's right, but look at how people became lately: tattoos, piercings are among us. Music is more noisy than melodic. Even new churches architectures are bizarre. Good taste has been overpowered by bad taste everywhere. The only good point I see in this, is that nice things (clothes, furnitures, deco items etc.) are now cheaper than ugly things.

Call me pessimistic if you want, but for my part, I'd say that things will be worse before becoming better. And photography won't escape the general rule, I fear that things will change the day people will be bored by this "gothic" atmosphere and hubris that have impregnated the whole society. In 10, 50, 100 years ?

0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (5 months ago)

In a photo news the catching of the moment from the right angle is more important than composition and bokeh. If there are 10,000 people at a major event with a phone camera and one photo journalists, then chances are one of the 10,000 people just gets the better shot. The crowd is everywhere, the photo journalists is only in one spot.

And that is for a planned event. For an unscheduled event, the difference is even more stark. Someone with a phone camera is there and takes the shot, the photo journalist is not there.

It seems for run of the mill photo coverage the method of collecting best shots of phones is not only lower cost, but results in images with better coverage. An unbeatable combination.

Photo journalism needs to change to offer value in a different area. Only offering better value will ensure survival. Complaining that 10 years ago there was less competition will not help. Who adopts to the change will continue his business.

9 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (5 months ago)

What you tells is right. BUT things are not only obvious as mankind has the ability to take choices in a view to put some order in society. If the sole ability to take a picture - not even a good one - is enough to satisfy the needs of the mass-medias, couldn't be regulated by a sort of "gentlemen agreement" as to proctect the photographers profession ? Why should we, one may say ?

Well, imagine that we use the same unregulated way to do things to every profession and you will see a surge in unemployement then a civil war in no time. If anybody owning a car can take the job of a regular cab, why not after all ?

We have to remember urgently that work is not only a question of ability and a means to satisfy a need to "found ones place in the society" but OVERALL a way to structure society, and to feed the "units" called "fellows" and "families" that make that society turn round and exist on the long term. Basic wisdoms are the corner stones of life, and forgotting them costs a lot !

4 upvotes
Spectro
By Spectro (5 months ago)

well this benefit the ads. people will look at the pictures of those.

2 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (5 months ago)

Trained photographers take better pictures than people happen to be there with an iPhone but without proper photographic skill

Dedicated photographers need to make a living from selling their pictures

If newspaper issues could be sold at a higher price to people interested in paying more for higher image quality, then there would be the money to pay for the staff photographers.

So it seems in the last decades image quality was higher than public needed. Now that there is an option to lower image quality and lower cost, the public is choosing this lower cost option.

Times are a changing. Always have, always will be.

4 upvotes
rallyfan
By rallyfan (5 months ago)

I think you've summarized it very well indeed. You are exactly correct in my opinion: There is now an option to lower image quality at lower cost and this is the option that the public choses, increasingly.

My negative views on "photojournalism" and the "artists" that all deserve Pulitzers etc. aside, there are honest, hard working people that are losing their jobs everywhere. There is no escaping that this is very alarming and outright tragic.

That said, times always change. Hopefully they'll soon find something else.

2 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (5 months ago)

Dear Rallyfan,

Thank you for your reply and for adding that it is always tragic for people loosing their job. And for a photojournalist this might be especially hard, as he possibly put more heart into his job than many people put into theirs.

This is definitely a loss of great people contributing to society. They challenge is for everybody which includes the photo journalists to find something else to do. Putting effort into finding new jobs will be a positive response to the change of the world. Sadly fighting the change of the world is unfortunately a response that just drains energy with no positive outcome.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (5 months ago)

In a nutshell: These days the services of a professional photographer are not required to produce a photo that is "good enough" for most people most of the time.

I do maintain some hope that in the future a system will be developed where photographers can be reliably paid for their work in proportion to its usefulness or perceived value. While supply outweighs demand in most segments, in the top tiers this surely cannot be true..

2 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (5 months ago)

Dear Richard,

I agree that in top tiers a professional photographer has an edge by design. If there is a market willing to pay for this edge, I do not know. I sure hope so.

Your writing suggests that you are waiting for a better system to emerge. How about you start contributing to such a better system? Create a website selling licenses of professional pictures of current events? Contribute to discussions on how such a better system would look like, as you do now. Successful business are started by people with a passion seeing a service not available yet.

0 upvotes
Dark Fader
By Dark Fader (5 months ago)

Couldn't tell when last I purchased a magazine or newspaper. But I still buy printed novels.

4 upvotes
Clueless Wanderer
By Clueless Wanderer (5 months ago)

Awesome :-) ....unless people really like it and want it to stay that way. Then were all scr*w*d :-/

0 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (5 months ago)

Way to go, Libération! Especially the accompanying clarification.
In this day and age where just about any dip with enough money can buy a business s/he doesn't understand, and then decide upon the fate of workers who made it successful and interesting, this approach should become an more widespread answer.

3 upvotes
Darby
By Darby (5 months ago)

Pertinent subject. What passes for 'news' has degenerated into a mindless pablum. Certainly, budgets have been tweaked from on high, and those folks assume an audience lacking the will to make noise on the issue. Video news has certainly become a 'reality t.v. show'. It follows that like managers on daily papers & mags will allow a descent into 'snaps' vs. well thought images.

More, that our history will be forgotten, for a while. Some event(s) will no doubt cause the importance of good writing and imagery to resurge.

Until then, just keep hammering away, and fight the urge to lower your standards.

1 upvote
mgatov
By mgatov (5 months ago)

The reality is that with the proliferation of cell phone cameras, there is always someone on the scene to take a picture... whether it is a natural disaster or an accident, or even a war. As long as there are people present, there will be pictures available.

3 upvotes
snegron2
By snegron2 (5 months ago)

Snapshots, not pictures; much less actual photographs.

3 upvotes
rallyfan
By rallyfan (5 months ago)

OK so snapshots. So what? Are you willing to pay for actual photographs? Great, because nobody else is.

Snapshots will do fine.

4 upvotes
snegron2
By snegron2 (5 months ago)

Settling for less is indicative of the dumbing down of society. How low will we go? Back to stick figures and wall drawings? Humans are capable of creating, recognizing and appreciating art. It distinguishes us from other species. Why take this gift away?

5 upvotes
57even
By 57even (5 months ago)

A snapshot or video of an actual event is worth a lot more than a posed editorial after the event. Papers can still hire agency photographers or buy pics from Reuters if they want an "insertion" picture, but that's for ongoing situations. For much of the news it's simply not possible to have someone on the scene.

This is a direct result of the emergence of smartphones, meaning for any event happening anywhere in the world about 100 people are going to be shooting it. Just look at youtube.

I may not like it much either, but c'est la vie. I don't see papers hiring a lot of typesetters these days either..

4 upvotes
rallyfan
By rallyfan (5 months ago)

The "photographers" and "photojournalists" have a tremendous sense of entitlement and self-importance from what I see here though. The reality is, they're not important enough to sell papers.

Another aspect of reality: They're getting their own medicine. When painters could no longer make money painting portraits because photographers came along, and portraits were now quicker and more accessible, that was just fine though, eh? Photographers love it then, eh?

But now they're "artists" and society will suffer a tremendous loss without them. Sorry, I'm not buying it.

Tech moves on.

3 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (5 months ago)

You don't buy it because you don't understand it. In the same way people buy McDonald's because they don't know what a real hamburger is, but I would hardly call that "moving on." I call that having no taste.

3 upvotes
Josh152
By Josh152 (5 months ago)

@larrtusaz

Wow what a combo! You are condescending and completely clueless.
People go to McDonalds for convince and price. They know the restaurant across town has better burgers. But they also know it's already 5:45 pm, they have hungry kids crying in the back of the van, McDonald's on the way home, cheaper, and has a drive through that doesn't even require entering the building let a lone sitting down and waiting to be served and then waiting a another 15-20 mins for the food all the while the kids are still acting up.

See people don't really care about having the best as much as they care about convince and getting their needs met for as low of a price as possible. No one cares if newspaper photos are "artsy" or have "good composition" They only care about getting the info they are seeking from the paper. A cell phone snap does that job just as well as an expertly composed photo form a pro using a DSLR does. No one will pay more for a paper just for slightly better photos.

1 upvote
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (5 months ago)

Oh I'm quite "clued." Yes McDonald's is faster & more convenient, and that's why people buy from them, but that doesn't mean they are more advanced or that better quality food is irrelevant. It simply means people can't be bothered. It reminds me of that "Jimmy situation" line in "Pulp Fiction" where Jules is complimenting Jimmy for his coffee being gourmet not Taster's Choice, and Jimmy says "I buy the good stuff, when Bonnie [my wife] goes shopping, she buys [crap]."

In other words, there are a lot of Bonnies in the world, but that doesn't mean "tech has moved on" as it were. It just means people accept inferior quality for a quicker turn-around time. Even if that's understandable, those who take better photos or make better burgers or coffee are right to be somewhat offended.

2 upvotes
Josh152
By Josh152 (5 months ago)

LOL I love it when people back track to a more moderate position when they are called on their Sh*t.

0 upvotes
Dan Wagner
By Dan Wagner (5 months ago)

Since I started as a pro photographer I often said that if magazines don't want to pay a reasonable amount for photography they should just publish without photos and see how that works. Also, it's always annoyed me that photographers get an inferior credit to writers, and especially those mags that bury the photo credit in the gutter. I don't diminish writers at all, and believe photos and words together are best.

6 upvotes
rallyfan
By rallyfan (5 months ago)

They'll publish without *your* photos. They'll get less expensive photos elsewhere. For example, from absolutely anyone at the scene. They may not be excellent quality and may lack that elusive artistic sensibility that a pro would provide but they'll do.

3 upvotes
Steve_
By Steve_ (5 months ago)

Since you've said (47 times) that people won't pay for photographs, what good would it do to seek cheaper ones?

Put another way, given the proliferation of new outlets, what is the marketability of those that seek to only to meet your non-existent quality standards? People will positively line up to pay for recycled UPI crap with cell-phone pics, right?

0 upvotes
rallyfan
By rallyfan (5 months ago)

No.

People won't line up to pay for anything.

If you want to produce art, find a wealthy sponsor and have them buy your masterpieces.

Everyone else will be OK.

1 upvote
magneto shot
By magneto shot (5 months ago)

they did line up for iphone...

1 upvote
rallyfan
By rallyfan (5 months ago)

Except this "protest issue" isn't relevant.

Newspapers aren't going to start printing issues without photographs.

They're going to start printing issues without photographs from "photographers" and "photojournalists."

The argument whether "anybody can take that picture!" is moot. We will soon enough see whether anybody (a) can and (b) will "take that picture."

The answers will invariably be "yes" and "yes" to those questions.

Bye!

3 upvotes
monographix
By monographix (5 months ago)

as much as everyone is a graphic designer since they can install illustrator in their laptop. Or web developer because wixx exists. not happening. washington sun directors are plainly ignorant cowbillies and they will simply fall in the brainless pit they dug

2 upvotes
rallyfan
By rallyfan (5 months ago)

The best photographs in the world AREN'T GOING TO SELL NEWSPAPERS.

Ostensibly, photojournalists WERE pros and "excellent" at what they did. Newspaper sales DECLINED.

What would you do? Pay the same "photojournalists" more money? Get even better "photojournalists?"

The money's GONE. The jobs went with it.

It's not pleasant and it's not fun but it's reality.

As for "graphic designers" they're an even worse lot. Look around at web sites, print ads, etc. Not much hope there either.

Comment edited 46 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
Josh152
By Josh152 (5 months ago)

@monogrpahix

That is not a valid comparison. The standards for new paper photos are far lower than they are for pro design work. All that is really necessary is that you can tell what the photo is of. That, added to the extremely low quality ink and paper used not to mention the small size that most newspaper photos are printed at, means that actually, yes anyone with even a cell phone can pretty much get an image that is usable for a newspaper as long as they can get close enough and point it in the right direction.

No one reads a news paper looking for expertly composed "artsy" photos. Heck they see the photo for 2 secs think that's nice and move on with their day never thinking about it again. Keeping full time staff photographers is a very bad business decision for a struggling newspaper in light of these facts and in light of the fact that many papers can get ( often better) photos of news worthy events for free from the public who were there as it was happening.

1 upvote
snegron2
By snegron2 (5 months ago)

Rallyfan: The best photographs in the world DO sell papers. The reality is that publishers are now making tons of more cash in the digital age compared to the paper publications of the past (think advertisement dollars, selling your info every time you log into their site, and no print production costs at all). Also, why pay pros for quality work when the general audience (young generation of today) is incapable of recognizing art and every person who owns an iphone is a paparazzi wannabe? News organizations today are simply greedier than they were in the past.

1 upvote
rallyfan
By rallyfan (5 months ago)

Human greed has not changed.

Are you saying that increasing the quality of photojournalists will increase newspaper sales?

I doubt young people are incapable of recognizing quality; they are more likely unwilling to pay for it. Neither am I, frankly.

Snapshots will do.

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Adrian Van
By Adrian Van (5 months ago)

Prepaid subscriptions to newspapers with better looking images may mean more sales to those that still use photographers.
Then again, many of us are getting our news from websites or TV, and not bothering to read papers anymore or buy them, except once in awhile.

0 upvotes
snegron2
By snegron2 (5 months ago)

If news print is dead thanks to digital media, then the same standards that once held true for prestigious publishers in the past should hold true today. Most of the profits earned by publishers in the past was in advertising more so than in actual sales of their printed product. Circulation was more a measure of how much more they could charge for companies to advertise with them. The money is still there but publishers are even stingier today.

Would I pay for a quality publication (digital)? Yes, I would. Especially if I can read and view truly award winning articles.

1 upvote
rallyfan
By rallyfan (5 months ago)

They'll need more subscriptions than that though, and they'll have to compete with free publications that use "snapshots" and publish the news within minutes, online, for "free" to everyone -- yes those guys have ads on their site but I can't name a single ad vendor from Yahoo News (just an example) any more than I can name one from here -- except Amazon, of course, since this is an Amazon site.

1 upvote
monographix
By monographix (5 months ago)

in today's declining markets the only businesses surviving and will be the ones standing are the ones investing in professionalism, specialization, expertise. Neither wedding photography, nor photojournalism, or whatever kind of photography can be replaced by smartphones for at least various technical reasons alone. A snapshot is good and worth of doing the job under certain circumstances while in countless others more theres no way it can deliver. Are you going to stick your neck for example to get a picture from a hazardous situation only to find out that your ....smartphone cannot reach the event 100 meters away that no amount of tiny megapixels can save the day or you have no clue how to deal with light and come back with a burned or soak in dark out of of focus mud of a useless image ? The list goes on

1 upvote
monographix
By monographix (5 months ago)

as for designers, true designers are the ones who are profiting right now and they are sought after. It is a time that clearing up in the market occurs , competition is real and solutions to the challenges deriving from the financial situation can be given only from people truly qualified

as everybody elses, the payments of every professional might and is become a subject of flexible adaptation, a photojournalist should be called to work for more clients or reduce somehow his prices etc but that would be all

i dont think also, on a different level, that is a functional attitude to act in an introvert / phobic way, "don"t get that, don't get this, don't need that, etc sustaining a self absorbing black hole in the market chains (less demand, less research, less production, less innovation, less jobs etc) that will lead to a total collapse eventually

0 upvotes
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