What’s the difference?

I was reading the article titled “Supreme Court extends rights of gun owners” and I was annoyed with the title. The Supreme Court didn’t extend anything. It recognized the pre-existing right and said local government may not infringe that right.

Then I thought about the picture they used in the article. It wasn’t of gun owners and gun rights activists waiting for the decision. It was the anti-rights people:

Would the LA Times have used a similar picture of the KKK standing outside the Supreme Court waiting on a decision regarding the rights of non-whites with such a neutral caption? What’s the difference? The Brady Campaign and the KKK both want to use the force of law to suppress the rights of others. Sure, the KKK sometimes took violence into their own hands. But the Brady Campaign has a lot of innocent blood on their hands too. Some of it via criminals enabled by disarmed victims and some of it via the enforcement of repressive gun laws against private citizens (Ruby Ridge and Waco are the better known examples).

The biggest difference that I see is had the KKK been standing outside the Supreme Court there would have been more of them. The KKK had far more public support and members than the Brady Campaign ever has. They are fringe group by any definition of the phrase and they need to be politically extinguished.


8 thoughts on “What’s the difference?

  1. Never worked at a newspaper, eh? The editors have to work with the photos the photographer takes and not all photographers are that good. A friend of mine who was a Sports editor used to complain about a photographer who, at a golf match, would get “photos of the trees and photos of the crowd, but never any good photos of people playing golf.” So, based on that, the paper might have just picked the only photo where the shot was clear and the composition correct (people facing in on both the right and left sides of the frame) to use with the story.

  2. Disarmer, please. These are the easiest exposures to make. The subjects are stationary, they are front-lit in broad daylight, and they are wearing dark clothes and holding white signs. Any in-camera meter made since the mid-60s would have no problem averaging the range of reflectance and coming up with the right exposure. A seven year-old could pop any modern digital camera into program mode and nail this shot on the first try, regardless of how the subjects were clothed. If the photojournalist could handle this shot, he could handle any other one under the same conditions.

    Sports photography is a different discipline. The photographer can’t get near the subject, so he must use a lens with a long focal length. The field-of-view of a 300mm lens on a 36x24mm frame, for example, is only about 7 degrees; it’s easy to lose a subject, especially while that subject is moving and the camera is focusing. He’s also trying to hold steady, which is crucial because such a long focal length magnifies every tiny movement and blurs the subject. Modern action photographers try to mitigate this by using big glass and shutter-priority exposure at high speeds, and then firing a burst of shots–before the action starts and sometimes before the subject is in-frame and in-focus, and following through until after it’s over. Obviously most of the shots will be no good. That’s the price to pay for a guarantee of a good shot.

    Regardless, I can assure you that Brendan Hoffman not only knows what he’s doing, but he’s also quite good at it. (Doesn’t seem like he had any trouble getting a perfectly exposed shot of Gura and McDonald.)

  3. Here, http://tinyurl.com/2frfl8k. They had 19 pics to choose from and some of them were not that great. (Gotta love the third one in, with the bright red ponytail front and center.) Also, now that I looked at the original article, it’s from the Tribune and they may have sent the photo along that they wanted used. I dunno. It’s not my page and I’m not the editor.

    I do know that the LA Times frequently runs the same photos in the regular hard copy that they put on the internet and that may have something to do with the decision process.

  4. the fouth one is very good with Gura, Gotlieb, and McDonald. (I don’t recognise the black gentleman behind McDonald, anybody know who that is?)

    Still thinks for supporting Joe’s point, Ubu.

  5. I’ve got a lot of years in newspapers and I know how things fly at the end of the day. Newspapers don’t put as much thought into the meaning of things — a least, not as much as the public seems to think they do. You’re always on deadline and the attitude is more “pump it out” than “let’s think about this.”

    HOWEVER, when you get to the “big” newspapers like the LA Times, NYTimes, etc.; the powers that be think a lot about awards and that’s why page composition and other issues enter into it that wouldn’t matter at a smaller paper.

    When you are dealing with photos, you never want a photo that “looks off the page.” In other words, you never want a photo that leads you to look off the page without looking at the rest of the page. And it’s not kosher to flop a news photo. The Chicago Tribune photo was okay because the people were looking off the page but the big huge building behind them pulled it back into the page. If the building wasn’t there, that would be a bad photo — unless it was running on the left side of the page.

    Anyway, they only had 19 images to pick from and despite the photographer’s credentials, the photos were not that great. Yeah, some were okay but several were just kinda “meh.” They used what they used.

    Joe seems to think that they deliberately picked that photo with ulterior motives and I couldn’t disagree more because I know they don’t put a lot of thought into the photos they use. (Other than the composition of the actual photo.)

  6. I have my own opinion, thanks. He went in and took shots of everything interesting, including multiple, well-composed shots of all the principals. I count ten that would be appropriate. The guy did a great job.

    Other newspapers didn’t have trouble choosing a decent alternative. LAT cherry-picked the image that aligns with their opinions on the matter. It’s the most compositionally uninteresting photo of the lot. But hey! It had the barely legible words “gun violence”, in it.

  7. I agree with TJP, the photos are pretty darn good, especially the one that I pointed out above. I think she was looking for one of Helmke and Hannagan holding hands and v-for-victory fingers looking triumphant because “Gun bans are off the table and the NRA is dead” or something….

  8. Joe’s post is not about photography. It’s about a faltering anti human rights movement that needs to be dumped on the ash heap of history, along with the KKK, Marxism, Algore, et al, so we can forget them and get on with living our lives instead of constantly battling for the right to do so.

    When do we get compensation for the time and expense involved in fighting for our supposedly guaranteed liberties? When do these anti rights politicians get their due?

    If you want to talk shop, ubu; I like the photo, personally. They all look puzzled; “Why am I here? When do I get my free ice-cream for standing out here looking silly? Crap, I hope none of my friends see me out here.”
    It’s your typical file photo– five or six people with pre-printed signs and an anti rights agenda will make the papers every time, as if it were actual news or something. Small wonder the newspapers are failing, and are speaking of bailouts from their Dear Leader in the Whitehouse. A more pathetic bunch there has scarcely ever existed.

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