« Peter Jennings diagnosed with lung cancer | Main | Support Lebanon's struggle for freedom »

Pulitzer Winning Photo not that Impressive

By now you've probably seen this Pulitzer winning picture from the AP and read some of the controversy surrounding it. It is a picture of 2 people getting shot in Baghdad.

If you are new to the story, you can get caught up to speed, here here here here here here here here and here. (it caused a stink)

But the 10 second version of all of those links goes like this... The photographer must have been working with the insurgents (and known there was a murder about to happen) to get this picture because the odds are incredibly long that someone would catch an execution on film AND, the photographer took the picture rather than running for his life. This is summed up by Powerline asking 2 questions:

The photographer was obviously within a few yards of the scene of the murder, which raises obvious questions, such as 1) what was the photographer doing there; did he have advance knowledge of the crime, or was he even accompanying the terrorists? and 2) why did the photographer apparently have no fear of the terrorists, or conversely, why were the terrorists evidently unconcerned about being photographed in the commission of a murder?

Allow me to be the iconoclast as I answer the 2 questions:

Q1 What was the photographer doing there?

A Let's review, there was a news photographer in a war zone. Duh?!? Why do you think he was there? Do you think the pictures take themselves? There are several hundred (thousands?) photographers running thru a war zone for a year and you are surprised one of them caught an act of war on film? These guys spend 24 hours a day, camera in hand, looking for a picture like this... Are we surprise one of them got such a picture of marginal (technical) quality?

I hate to call out my fellow conservative bloggers, but this is just silly.

Just tune in your TV to all the various "caught on tape" shows that populate the airwaves and you will see that even amateurs mange to get pictures of the most bizarre things on film and tape. Really it is somewhat odd that this is a Pulitzer winning photo, it's not that good. Frankly, I'm surprised this is the "best" anyone got the whole year.

Sure you might wonder if he had advanced knowledge but assuming he must have because "the odds were against him" is just silly. To me, a former news photographer, too silly to even mention publicly.


Q2 Why did the photographer apparently have no fear of the terrorists?

A If the photog was more worried about his safety than the picture, he would have been home on his couch. War photogs ain't like most people, when they hear shooting they run toward it. It flies in the face of self preservation but it happens every day. Look at Geraldo Rivera, (love him or hate him) when we went to war, he gave up a multi-million dollar contract hosting a cable news show to go get shot at... and his brother went with him. It takes a different kind of person to do that.

Again, this is silly on its face to assume collusion because the photog did not run.

When tornado's blew thru a small community I was in, I grabbed my camera and headed into the storm to get pictures, not giving much though to what might happen to me. That's just the way news photographers (and firemen and policemen...) work every day. War photographers, by definition, aren't afraid of war.

And as far as the terrorists not wanting their picture taken... If they sought anonymity, they would not have done this in broad daylight on a busy city street.

Finally, look at the picture technically... If this is the best he could do with advanced notice, he isn't too good a photographer. Clearly it was both taken with a longish lens and cropped dramatically. (look at the grain) Admittedly my eyes see what most people don't in a photo but if I had to take a wild guess, I would guess the photographer could be 100 yards [Ed - corrected years] away or more easily. (trust me I shot football for years)

This is an unspectacular picture that has been blown completely out of proportion (sadly) by people on my side of the agenda. Let's not get crazy huh? That's what the other side is best at.

Update below the fold. and Kevin Craver takes the time to answer some of the questions I glossed over.

Postscript: I'm not even going to address the "tipped" part of the story. That is silliness on top of silliness. This whole thing has been one protracted over-reaction.... (sorry guys and gals)

Update OK I will cover the "tipped" part... Apparently some people misread that line:

A source at the Associated Press knowledgeable about the events covered in Baghdad on Sunday told Salon that accusations that the photographer was aware of the militants' plans are "ridiculous." The photographer, whose identity the AP is withholding due to safety concerns, was likely "tipped off to a demonstration that was supposed to take place on Haifa Street," said the AP source, who was not at liberty to comment by name. But the photographer "definitely would not have had foreknowledge" of a violent event like an execution, the source said.

So an anonymous "source" (not the AP) said he was "likely" tipped off to a "demonstration" not a murder.

That is not the same thing as the AP admitting guilt people.


TrackBack

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Pulitzer Winning Photo not that Impressive:

» ISOU linked with Give Credit where it is due...

» Another Rovian Conspiracy - St Wendeler linked with Pulitzer Prize Photos

» Say Anything linked with Inappropriate Selection For Pulizter Photo

» Blog: Derek Rose linked with the AP's Pulitzer

» No Easy Answers linked with Is CBS Cozy With Terrorists Too?

» The Jawa Report linked with The Pulitzer and Terrorist Embeds

» Interested-Participant linked with Photographer Embedded With Terrorists

» Soccer Dad linked with The degradation of the AP

» The Dead Parrot Society linked with Haifa Street critics are back

» The Dead Parrot Society linked with Haifa Street update II: Quest for a Power Line correction

» The Dead Parrot Society linked with Haifa Street update IV: NYT story

Comments (67)

Nice lab coat, Paul.... (Below threshold)

Nice lab coat, Paul.

This is satire, right?... (Below threshold)
BurbankErnie:

This is satire, right?

right?

April Fools, right?

right?

So why was the photographer... (Below threshold)
bill:

So why was the photographer in the middle of the street and why didn't he stop the murders, or at least try.

So -- you saying if you saw a person get injured in a torando you would just take their picture.

Further, this ain't no tornado, these are terrorist who kill people at will. I doubt you would rush to the scene snapping pictures knowing they take journalists captive and behead them. Especially if they could be ID'ed -- note the guy in the middle with no mask.

Don't buy it -- it was cooked from the get go. Nice try, but no sale.

Bill, not having a gun in y... (Below threshold)

Bill, not having a gun in your hand, what would you have done? Run screaming up to a group of madmen firing guns at innocent people, yelling at them to stop in the name of all that is good and right and just?

If all you've got is a camera, you do the best you can -- in hopes, perhaps, of being able to help identify the murderers.

I'll admit I hadn't given much thought to the picture before this, but the "cooked" argument sounds a little too "Jeff Gannon was Lewinskying Dubya" to me. Someone please tell me: Who was standing on the grassy knoll?

I'm not wild about the fact... (Below threshold)

I'm not wild about the fact that we gave a prize — not just an honorary prize, an actual cash prize — to a reporter who stood around and watched two people get murdered.

I also don't buy into the conspiracy-theory side of this, but I think there's plenty to be outraged about. When did being a reporter absolve somebody of all moral responsibility?

I don't know, Paul, you oug... (Below threshold)
Cousin Dave:

I don't know, Paul, you ought to go look at Powerline's latest on the subject. First of all, according to Salon, the AP has admitted that the photographer was tipped. Now, they didn't that the photographer was tipped to a terrorist murder; they said that he was tipped to a demonstration. But we all know what the word "demonstration" means in this context. Second of all, you have to know what was happening where and when the photograph was taken. As I understand it, the murders happened at a polling site on the day of the Iraqi elections (someone correct me if I'm wrong), and the victims were poll workers. Now, given that the insurgents had made specific threats to disrupt the election by attacking polling places... well, I can put two and two together.

Further: Powerline has a later statement where the AP pretty much admits that it uses people known to the terrorists as photographers. The phrase "family and tribal relations give them access" pretty much sums it up. And the fact that the AP refuses to identify this Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer -- why would they do that? Because, after the NBC/Kevin Sites fiasco, they are afraid that bloggers will research the photographer's backgound and uncover his/her connections? Why else would they withhold the photog's identity? (Don't even get me started on why the AP should or should not have published the photograph. That's a debate for another thread.)

I do agree with you on one thing: it's not that great a shot. The composition is cluttered by all of the cars in the background, and it's badly back-lit and underexposed. I think it's very clear that the Pulitzer committee chose this photograph because it agreed with the committee's political agenda, not because of any merits of the photograph itself.

Jeff if photogs are there t... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Jeff if photogs are there to play moral judge and stop people from killing people in war, we have a problem... I share your concern that he got a cash prize for this but like it or not, it is news.

I do not think the photog had any responsibility to go running after armed men telling them to stop. See also McGehee above.

(especially- think about it people... The photog was shooting at random at this point hoping he got news. (news photography is a lot like fishing) He probably had no clue what happened until several seconds after it did.)

Cousin Dave>>AP ha... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Cousin Dave

>>AP has admitted that the photographer was tipped

That's not exactly what the AP said. It was a "source" not the AP. Further he said "likely" tipped to a "demonstration" not a murder, not defiantly tipped to a murder... Overreaction.

>>As I understand it, the murders happened at a polling site on the day of the Iraqi elections (someone correct me if I'm wrong), and the victims were poll workers. Now, given that the insurgents had made specific threats to disrupt the election by attacking polling places... well, I can put two and two together.

NOPE! The pic was taken a month before the election. 2 and 2 don't go together in this paragraph....

>>Further: Powerline has a later statement where the AP pretty much admits that it uses people known to the terrorists as photographers. The phrase "family and tribal relations give them access" pretty much sums it up.

Not really... Kurds can work in the Kurdish areas when a Sunni can not... This is not admitting to aiding terrorism, it is an admission of demographic realities.

>>And the fact that the AP refuses to identify this Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer -- why would they do that? Because, after the NBC/Kevin Sites fiasco, they are afraid that bloggers will research the photographer's backgound and uncover his/her connections?

Sources and methods. Assuming the bad guys didn't want their picture taken --which grows more likely as a system of justice is installed-- he is at risk.

And on your last point political agenda might have come into play but the fact it was (astonishingly) apparently one of the "newsests" pics probably held sway.

Dave if you think this thru, many are overreacting.

McGehee -- so why would ... (Below threshold)
bill:

McGehee -- so why would you run up to a group of terrorists with guns in their hands when you were armed with a camera -- and not feel threatened?

I would have at least tried to summon help.

Notice the terrorists don't seem to be in the least bit concerned that the photographer approached them -- despite at least one looking almost directly at the camera. Do you think that is normal terrorist action? The camera guy could have had a gun, couldn't he? How did they know he didn't?

The photo is obviously staged.

What's wrong with you, Paul... (Below threshold)
Michael:

What's wrong with you, Paul? Are you some kind of Photojournalistic Zealot? Are you taking this dumb position just to create another contrived controversy?

Keeeeeeeeeeeeeeeviiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin!!! Paul is at it again.

I agree with Paul here. It ... (Below threshold)
DavidB:

I agree with Paul here. It appears to have been shot with a very long lens and then cropped for affect.

The picture is not very graphic either. It shows a guy, holding a gun and other men around him in various positions.

This is tame compared to other Pulitzer Prize Photos. If you want graphic, go back to 1968 and look at the photo shot by Eddie Adams that year. He won the prize and it is graphic, title Viet Cong Execution.

It shows a South Vietnamese General with a hand gun offing a Viet Cong prisoner. The photo was quite literally caught at the moment of impact.

Would you have expected Eddie Adams to go grab the generals arm and stop this from happening? Particularly when he was surrounded by his own troops? It happened in the middle of the street in Saigon.

War Zone photographers are there to get the shot, not get shot. Doing something that silly, trying to stop someone with a loaded weapon when you only have a camera, usually ends up in one person walking away and the other staying. Guess who would be staying?

Regarding Q1, the AP has ad... (Below threshold)

Regarding Q1, the AP has admitted that it was tipped off to a "demonstration" that was to occur at that location, so your comment that we're being silly to wonder about it is, well, silly.

Am I missing something? Oth... (Below threshold)
Red:

Am I missing something? Other than the fact that it was obvious and I believe since admitted that the photographer was tipped off, why are all the winning pictures negative ones in Iraq?

Who knew that cameras only existed in Iraq?

NOT ONE TSUNAMI pic? An actually photo taken during the event and we can be rest assured they were not warned about the Tsunami.

>Regarding Q1, the AP has a... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>Regarding Q1, the AP has admitted that it was tipped off to a "demonstration

No it has not. Go read it again. overreaction.

Unfortunately, there is pro... (Below threshold)
cog:

Unfortunately, there is proof that photographer and cameramen are working with the insurgents and terrorists.

In addition to the Al Jazeera cameraman who filmed a hostage prior to him escaping before his execution in Fallujah, there is this video confession of a photographer filmed by the Iraqi police:

http://www.memritv.org/Transcript.asp?P1=625

Paul: Thanks for the respon... (Below threshold)
Cousin Dave:

Paul: Thanks for the response:

>>AP has admitted that the photographer was tipped

>That's not exactly what the AP said. It was a "source" not the AP. Further he said "likely" tipped to a "demonstration" not a murder, not defiantly tipped to a murder... Overreaction.

On the source: Duly noted, although Salon
(who would be unlikely to make this up) said
it was an AP insider. However, I contend that
the word "demonstration" has a well-understood
meaning in the Mideast, and it does not mean
marching around with silly paper-mache figures. It's a bit like the mobster at trial claiming that, when he told the mark to "come down to the docks at eight, there's gonna be some action", he meant a friendly game of cribbage.

>>As I understand it, the murders happened at a polling site on the day of the Iraqi elections

>NOPE! The pic was taken a month before the election. 2 and 2 don't go together in this paragraph....

I stand corrected.

>>Further: Powerline has a later statement where the AP pretty much admits that it uses people known to the terrorists as photographers. The phrase "family and tribal relations give them access" pretty much sums it up.

>Not really... Kurds can work in the Kurdish areas when a Sunni can not... This is not admitting to aiding terrorism, it is an admission of demographic realities.

I follow the Kurd/Sunni reasoning, but the AP's statement appears to go farther than that. To me, it's equivalent of saying that a photog from Dallas can't work in Houston. Who'd know the difference? Apparently, according to the AP's statement, these people do.

>>And the fact that the AP refuses to identify this Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer -- why would they do that? Because, after the NBC/Kevin Sites fiasco, they are afraid that bloggers will research the photographer's backgound and uncover his/her connections?

>Sources and methods. Assuming the bad guys didn't want their picture taken --which grows more likely as a system of justice is installed-- he is at risk.

Hmm. I'm still leaning towards the contention that if the bad guys didn't want their picture taken, they would have blown him away on the spot. The fact that he did it and lived to publish it is evidence (admittedly circumstantial) of a connection between the two.

>And on your last point political agenda might have come into play but the fact it was (astonishingly) apparently one of the "newsests" pics probably held sway.

Maybe, although if you look at the awards the Pulitzer committee has bestowed over the last few years, the record is not encouraging. And yes, some people are over-reacting. However, the point they are trying to make is: The identity or motivation of the photog aside, the AP didn't have to publish this photo. Consider this: we've all heard about the incident last week in some Iraqi city where terrorists came storming into a market area, but the citizens took up arms and fought back and defeated them. Where are the news photos and videos of that? Do you mean to tell me that there wasn't a single person with a camera present when that happened? Or was it that the news wires chose not to publish those photos because it would harm their pre-conceived notions? I've tried some Googling for photos of Iraqis fighting back against terrorists, and all I have come up with is Abu Grahib photos. I've seen this point made this week: why are Americans getting so hostile to the mainstream media? It's because the MSM is willingly, happily, acting as propogandists for the enemy. It's systematic and anyone who dares to question it is told that they are "overreacting".

Dave don't get me wrong--- ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Dave don't get me wrong--- I'm not saying that the AP is a paragon of virtue or even unbiased.

What I am saying is that if we are going to accuse them of misdeeds, lets use air-tight examples..

This ain't one of them.

Looked at objectively, this example is no more "suspicious" than hundreds of others. And frankly it makes us look like we are stretching using this example.

"We" have enough examples to be outraged about. Using this one makes us look silly.

*** holds nose ***... (Below threshold)

*** holds nose ***

I agree with Paul.

*** runs from comment thread, gasping for breath. ***

lol... (Below threshold)
Paul:

lol

Looks like the Commissar's ... (Below threshold)
Michael:

Looks like the Commissar's objectivity is slowly evolving.

And he's even funny.

I'm betting it's an imposto... (Below threshold)
Paul:

I'm betting it's an impostor.

McGehee -- so why would ... (Below threshold)

McGehee -- so why would you run up to a group of terrorists with guns in their hands when you were armed with a camera -- and not feel threatened?

In reply, I'll quote from Paul's original post:

Clearly it was both taken with a longish lens and cropped dramatically. (look at the grain) Admittedly my eyes see what most people don't in a photo but if I had to take a wild guess, I would guess the photographer could be 100 years away or more easily. (trust me I shot football for years)

I'm betting it's an impo... (Below threshold)
Michael:

I'm betting it's an impostor.

Can't believe you waited two hours to say something snarky. Musta hurt. :>)

There are several hundr... (Below threshold)
Greyhawk:

There are several hundred (thousands?) photographers running thru a war zone for a year and you are surprised one of them caught an act of war on film? These guys spend 24 hours a day, camera in hand, looking for a picture like this... Are we surprise one of them got such a picture of marginal (technical) quality?

First: Murder of election workers in the streets is not an act of war.

Your answered your own second question - yes, a pro photographer would have done much better. More likely this was a picture taken by one of the group that performed the execution. The 'tiped photographer' story is all the more implausable for the low quality of the shots.

Truth is there weren't hundreds or thousands of photogs running around all over Baghdad, for just this reason. Your description is far from reality on that point.

There's something waddling and quacking here, but you're right, it might not be a duck. And yes, nothing can be proven about these photos. In the same sense that the National Guard memos can't be proven, that nothing can be proven about ABC/WaPo's latest memos, can't prove Sandy Berger intentionally stole documents, etc etc.

The question I want to ask ... (Below threshold)

The question I want to ask (and would go a long way to settling this matter) is "Where is the rest of the photo's?" Even as a wannabe photographer I know that with that type of action shot you pretty much hold the button down and burn your roll of flim in the hopes that you get one that comes out and wins you the Pulitzer.

Even Eddie Adams's famos photo was just one of a series, he simply (or they simply) selected the one that had the most impact.

I also agree, it looks like it was shot with a long lens (400mm or so) with a pretty fast film (lots of grain) and then further "blown up". Without the original, its hard to say if it was cropped after or not, and if it was, that would violate (to me) the spirit of the Pulitzer because the photo is being edited.

The emperor wears no clothe... (Below threshold)
Ken:

The emperor wears no clothes.

You can see it is not a very bright day.
The cars in the traffic jam are not compressed in perspective.
The depth of field is rather deep (you can see things in the far distance relatively well).
This all indicates it was NOT a long lens.
I say its most likely about 70mm (as opposed to normal 50 or 55mm)

I'm with Ken -- doesn't loo... (Below threshold)
Michael:

I'm with Ken -- doesn't look like a long lense to me either. Which means the photographer probably feels pretty secure because of those "family and tribal relations" that give him "access." In other words, these are probably guys from the photographer's hood. And it's also a reasonable conjecture that he isn't worried because he knows the terrorists want to publicize their brutal deed in order to intimidate election workers and make the pending election a failure, thereby discrediting the Coalition's mission.

But, Paul's point is still valid -- we can only speculate at this point and so shouldn't be too eager to jump to conclusions.

Kinda like Paul thinks we don't really know if the Oozers or Thumpers are right. I'm starting to see a pattern . . .

>I'm starting to see a patt... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>I'm starting to see a pattern . . .

ssshhhh Michael

Ken a 70mm lens at 5.6 with... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Ken a 70mm lens at 5.6 with a subject only 33 yards away gives you an infinite depth of field with a circle of confusion at .03mm

In other words, I don't think so.

Looks like it's you and me ... (Below threshold)

Looks like it's you and me against the world, Paul.

Of course, the msm has neve... (Below threshold)
julie:

Of course, the msm has never, never, NEVER, canoodled with terrorists before. So, I don't know why anyone would be suspicious.

I don't want to look at photos where the photojournalist is in bed or even just being used by terrorists. I don't want my newspaper to print those photos. I want some guaranteed that someone is not playing footsie with them. Now, the AP says they can't release the name of the photographer for safety reasons. Okay, so I can't check him/or out. And, I sure as hell don't trust the msm. So, don't publish the photo. I don't want to see it. It's not that interesting anyway. And certainly not Pulitzer material in my opinion.

I can’t see what people are... (Below threshold)
jmaster:

I can’t see what people are getting all worked up about with this. Conspiracy theories can be fun, but they can also turn silly in a hurry.

Sure, the Pulitzers have been highjacked by the leftist elite. Just like the Nobel. And Cannes, and the Academy Awards, and a whole bunch of other basically meaningless crap.

It’s a charade, and most honest and thinking people have realized this for some time. Big fricken deal.

I would guess the photo... (Below threshold)
Jim:

I would guess the photographer could be 100 years away or more easily. (trust me I shot football for years)

I got a quibble with this. I can believe "yards", but not "years".

Yes, it looks like fast film. blown up and a long lens to me. But, I've only been a photographer for 40+ years.

Pretty crappy shot if you ask me.

No Jim--- It was years-- ju... (Below threshold)
Paul:

No Jim--- It was years-- just "fast" film.

lol

Heck, I'll leave the typo.

P

Very often, if photogs are ... (Below threshold)
JD:

Very often, if photogs are "tipped" that something is going to happen at a certain place at a certain time, like a "demonstration", they will frequently go out beforehand, scope out sights and angles, and front-focus their chosen sites with different rigs - often you will see photogs with two or three different rigs - especially stringers. They have to bang and bang and bang to get something salable to the press.

IMHO, that is what occurred here. This was a combination of a "tip" (be here to see a 'demonstration') with a right time/wrong place for the election workers, who were quite obviously previously scouted by the murderers.

This shot was not in focus or lit quite properly, so I think it was taken with a motorized rig from a distance and then cropped, but not much. IIRC, this is one of a series of shots of this incident; this one just happened to land the Pukelitzer.

Absent the true film stock, no one can know for sure. All the scuttlebutt about it is turning this set of shots into the modern-day Zapruder film, tho.

Why all the pontification? ... (Below threshold)
Rob:

Why all the pontification? It is obvious that this picture shouldn't have won any prize.

It tells no story without the addition of a thousand words. As a matter of fact, the scene isn't much different than a traffic accident I witnessed in Cairo some years ago: Confusion, people running, praying, laying in the street and a policeman with a gun ordering the street cleared.

Prize winning photos should, without words, tell a story, raise a point, evoke an emotion... This one just begs a question: What's going on?


What I am saying is... (Below threshold)

What I am saying is that if we are going to accuse them of misdeeds, lets use air-tight examples..

This ain't one of them.

Looked at objectively, this example is no more "suspicious" than hundreds of others. And frankly it makes us look like we are stretching using this example.

Amen Paul. We don't need to be a bunch of wing-nuts like the DU, going on about any seemingly plausible theory without any proof.

There are better copies of ... (Below threshold)
bill:

There are better copies of the photo. The depth of field is too great for a long lense. The other photo shows the terrorists faces better and they were unconcerned about the photographer, who could have easily been armed.

What we need is for the photographer to step forward and explain, as well as the negative, and any other shots they took of the killing.

It surely isn't original to take a photo of some terrorist executing a couple of helpless victims to try and make a political statement. The AP aided them in doing so and should be ashamed of it.

We deserve better from the AP, and the Pulitizer group, well they just ...

Paul,Your circle o... (Below threshold)
Ken:

Paul,

Your circle of confusion at .03mm is because you don't have the correct setting on your feeblebletzer adjustment.

Actually, I took out my trusty Mamiya/Sekor 1000TL and mounted the 75-205 zoom and looked down the street at all the cars. I could get the proper width of field and perspective at about 85mm. Any more telephoto, and you can't get a wide enough view.

Indeed, why the fuss? Pho... (Below threshold)
McCain:

Indeed, why the fuss? Photographs mean different things to different people, and one can always imagine a political motive when conditioned by years of liberal bias. But in this case, the fact that the victims are DEMOCRATIC ELECTION WORKERS tells me a story that nobody else is seeing. I see democracy confronted by the fascist boot of Islamic terrorism. I see the promise of individual liberty, as exercised by the pen at an election booth. And I see that pen resisted by the sword. We know who is mightier in the end. Yes it is a poor photo, but the subject matter is eminently worthy to my senses.

I completely agree that the... (Below threshold)
-S-:

I completely agree that the upset about this photo is nearly preposterous (not the upset itself but why).

If we were to apply this same standard of upset to all photo journalism, there'd be a dismissal of most, if not all, wartime photos, even, let's see...videos of cops and robberies as they occur, or just after...wrecks in process...I can think of dozens of very important photos that would be dismissed if we were to seriously include this line of upset that's been attempted about this AP photo.

It's a long-lense shot, obviously without time to compose a frame, and that alone seems to indicate that the photographer was caught unawares and responded...because...he...is...a...photographer. They do that, grab their cameras and fire away. That's their impulsive response to sudden and partiuclarly sudden terrible incidents: take a photo of it.

The counter argument about this photo is preposterous.

I completely agree with Pau... (Below threshold)
areaman:

I completely agree with Paul on this one. People that are saying that the photog must have been aligned with terrorists to get this photo...well...they obviously havent looked at alot of work by war photographers. They go to those places specifically to get images like this one.

I'm not at all suprised that this photographer caught this event. There are people quibbing about the exposure and composition, which arent perfect, but then thats a pretty good indication that the photo could have been shot in a rush.

Other people have brought up the idea that the photographer must have been complicit in the act since he was taking photos. The Eddie Adams photo is a good example...Adams raised his camera shot just as the gun went off, killing the Viet Cong officer. It wasnt what Adams expected; he just happened to get it.

War photographers are insane and brave at the same time. Check out the D-Day photos of Robert Capa...the guy was shooting pictures in the middle of that madness. Crazy.

Julie wrote:

I don't want to look at photos where the photojournalist is in bed or even just being used by terrorists. I don't want my newspaper to print those photos.

I totally understand her point. Like those videos of the beheadings that are staged and then broadcast all over the world. I dont want to see any of that stuff, but sometimes its hard to ignore. I dont like it either; but it is out there. It's part of whats happening. People who stage crap like that incriminate themselves, and turn others against them, IMO.

I cant say that I like seeing this photo...its horrible, and I'm talking about the event that its showing (not the technical aspects of the photo). Those are election workers who are being murdered in public, and that is a deptiction of the kinds of things that have happened in Iraq. Not fun to look at, but photos like this give us an indication of what has gone on there. It's hard for me to comprehend since Ive had democracy handed to me here in the US, but in some places things arent so easy. It's important that we see whats going on, whether positive or negative.

Your circle of confusion... (Below threshold)
Michael:

Your circle of confusion at .03mm is because you don't have the correct setting on your feeblebletzer adjustment.

Ken:

You can't expect someone photographing a murder to get that adjustment exactly right. As you know, it can be tricky depending of lighting conditions, film speed, shutter speed, etc. I consider myself a seasoned photographer, and yet I am frequently a few degrees off.

Ken:I could get... (Below threshold)
areaman:

Ken:

I could get the proper width of field and perspective at about 85mm. Any more telephoto, and you can't get a wide enough view.

Paul was talking about depth of field, not "width of field". Depth of field is how much appears to be in focus in a photo from foreground to background. Depth of field is affected by aperture, and by subject distance.

What you are talking about is the angle of view of certain focal lengths, which is entirely different.

Circle of confusion:

Disc of light in the image where a point on the subject is not perfectly brought into focus. The eye cannot distinguish between a very small circle of confusion and a true point.

-thats a fancy way of talking about what appears to be in or out of focus. The smaller the circle of confusion, the more appears to be in focus. Smaller apertures (i.e. f16, f22) give smaller circles of confusion, greater apparent depth of field...to a point.

Michael He didn't ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Michael

He didn't know what a circle of confusion was.. He made the term up. Suffice it to say it was not a 70mm lens. Nor was it a 400 as someone else guessed.

Just some back of the napkin math and a little common sense says it was between 200 and 300mm.

Considering this was a stringer from Iraq (a poor country) and not a professional, he probably had a cheapish zoom lens. From looking at the pic, he probably either had a 28-200 or something that went to 300.

Considering 28-200's are dime a dozen, he probably was on the long end of one of them.... By best math guess tells me it was a 250 but I sorta doubt he had a 250 prime lens. If I had to pace a wager, I'd guess a 200 zoom. -- but I might drop a chip or two on a 300 zoom just to be safe.

I read about publicity stun... (Below threshold)
Synova:

I read about publicity stunts and how, way back when, they got to be way out of control. Someone selling something would set up a stunt and call the press and get free advertising out of it. Eventually the press decided that they didn't like being used and refused to cover the stunts. Without press coverage the stunts were useless.

A tip that something is going to happen, if it's a grocery store opening or anti-war ralley or cancer walk-a-thon, is given when the organizers expect press coverage to help their cause.

Of *course* the photographer was not afraid of the shooters. They wanted their picture taken. They wanted a message sent to intimidate Iraqi citizens working for democracy.

So was the photographer an accomplice? Pretty much, yeah. So was the AP, after the fact. Did they have prior knowledge? Maybe not, but this wasn't the only situation like this, was it? And then, of *course* the news article read, "Cowardly insugents murder election workers, proving themselves enemies of the Iraqi people."

Sure it did.

He made the term up. </i... (Below threshold)
Michael:

He made the term up.

Are you telling me that all the time I have spent adjusting my feeblebletzer was wasted?

Of *course* the photogra... (Below threshold)
areaman:

Of *course* the photographer was not afraid of the shooters.

really? how do you know that? it could be the case that the photographer was in on the whole thing, but also there is the possibility that he/she was there at this demonstration and captured this murder...because thats what photographers do. i dont know what the case is, so if you have more info please share it.

Michael,Are you... (Below threshold)
areaman:

Michael,

Are you telling me that all the time I have spent adjusting my feeblebletzer was wasted?

Canon just came out with a digital feeblebletzer, which never has to be adjusted, of course. Geez man get with it.

Geez man get with it.</i... (Below threshold)
Michael:

Geez man get with it.

areaman:

I resent your implication that a seasoned photographer such as myself is not "with it."

First of all, Canon models that have the digital feeblebletzer are extremely expensive toys. I expect prices to fall drasically in the next couple of years as more companies offer this technology. You're a chump if you have already bought one.

Secondly, if you are really serious about photography, like me, you have to think twice before you buy this gadget. Certainly the digital feeblebletzer is convenient, but you lose a great deal of creative control over your composition. Even after the price falls, I think I am going to suffer a little inconvenience and stick with an analog feeblebletzer.

Michael:Whatever d... (Below threshold)
areaman:

Michael:

Whatever dude. All the photo mags say that people with digital feebleblitzers will take better photos of flowers and especially puppies. So what if I spent alot of money, i think it was worth it.

However, I heard that Tamron IS introducing their own feebleblitzer for about 1/4 of the price, but the magnetic ratio is alot less. You get what you pay for I guess.

And I resent you saying that I'm not really serious, because I am. I will suffer a little of your artsy "creative control" anytime for the high tech digital convenience and accuracy of Canon's feebleblitzer. Next time you're shooting in a blizzard with polar bears charging at you, you'll think twice about your old fashioned choices.

areaman:You dumbsh... (Below threshold)
Michael:

areaman:

You dumbshit. It's feeblebletzer, not feebleblitzer. Guys like you piss me off. I really think you should know something about a subject before you criticize others. You remind me of Paul.

Actually Canon's new model ... (Below threshold)
areaman:

Actually Canon's new model had to change the name slightly for copyright reasons, and it IS called a Feebleblitzer, pal. They lost the court case against Nikon this year. If you had enough money to join the 21st century and buy one you would know that.

hey- If you guys don't knoc... (Below threshold)
Paul:

hey- If you guys don't knock it off, I'm going to post something about oozers!

Paul, I found this... (Below threshold)

Paul,

I found this thread from an article on Salon.com. Yes, I'm a tax-and-spend Liberal, and have no qualms about saying it publically. What I am not is a traitor, a terrorist, or a communist.

The reason I am here is because as your fellow American, I want to say thank you for speaking truth to the situation about these photographs.

I'm an amateur photographer myself, with a deep love of the medium. At 45, photographs have shaped my world view from an early age. I remember holding the issue of a magaizine in my hands with the Kent State Pieta in my hands when it came out. I remember that horrifying image of the Vietnamese man about to be summarily executed at point blank range. I remember the image of the Challenger exploding.

Granted, the photograph above isn't of particularly good technical quality; Who knows what limits there were on the photographer and his equipment. But the fact of the matter is he was there, he got the shot in spite of danger to himself simply for being there.

One of your readers asked why didn't the photographer do something to stop the murder--not all of us are heros. Sometimes it's impossible to do anything. Judging from the quality of the picture, I'd bet the photographer was too far away to get there in time.

This is a question that plagues photographers and photo journalists; Why am I only taking pictures, and not helping? It's a question I've asked myself--what whould I do if I found myself in a situation where I could help instead of document? I like to think I would help if I could. But when we can't, we have to settle for documentation. Sometimes we have to show the rest of the world what we are seeing, make known the wrongs.

Thank you, Paul, for having the courage to stand up for reason in the face of a growing reactionary and vitriolic outcry on both sides of the political fence.

Here's to the voices of reason, on both sides.

Jean Dudley.

<a href="http://www.salon.c... (Below threshold)
Fritz:

http://www.salon.com/politics/war_room/index.html

The AP in cahoots with terrorists? Try again

It's so refreshing when someone on the "other side" gets it right for once. In December, numerous right-wing bloggers tagged the Associated Press as treasonous after one of its Iraqi stringers captured photos of Iraqi election workers being executed by insurgents in broad daylight on Baghdad's notorious Haifa Street. The photographer, they claimed, could only have gotten the photos if he'd been working with the bad guys.

But when a team of AP photographers won a Pulitzer Prize on Monday for their work in the war zone, it was enough to motivate blogger Kevin Aylward to step up and point out the cloudiness of his partisan colleagues' thinking. "This is an unspectacular picture that has been blown completely out of proportion (sadly) by people on my side of the agenda," Aylward said. "Let's not get crazy huh? That's what the other side is best at."

Back in December, while the bloggers were busy furthering their long-running rant about how the "left-wing media" is always eager to depict the war effort as a disaster, Salon spoke with a source at the AP familiar with the situation in Baghdad who confirmed that the photographer "definitely would not have had foreknowledge" of a violent event like an execution. (See the above link.) In his post yesterday, Aylward punched holes in most of his fellow bloggers' assertions as to why the photographer had to have been colluding with the terrorists to get the photos. (See the other above link.)

The Washington Post's coverage of the Pulitzer win for the AP this week sheds more light on why right-wingers seem to have such a hard time with images that expose the true ugliness of the war. The article points back to another indelible image from Iraq: a March 2004 photo that AP photographer Khalid Mohammed took of Iraqis celebrating over the charred bodies of four American military contractors who were murdered in Fallujah. "Some people tried to prevent me from taking the picture," Mohammed said. "I had to move fast because I saw the situation was very, very dangerous."

"Mohammed's photos startled the world," the Post continues, "and were a critical part of Iraqi history after the U.S.-led invasion. Fallujah instantly became a household name, recognized as an insurgent stronghold until the U.S. military led a major assault on the city in November."

If it were up to the war hawks, the world would never see any of the nasty stuff that casts a shadow of doubt on the mission -- even if it takes peddling a conspiracy theory that some of their very own won't buy.

-- Mark Follman

[15:53 EST, April 6, 2005]

The really amazing thing, F... (Below threshold)
Synova:

The really amazing thing, Fritz, is that the pictures that the "right wingers" are complaining about show the enemy doing nasty stuff. The amazing thing is that insurgents murdering election workers is seen to cast doubt on our mission and not theirs.

Synova:The amaz... (Below threshold)
Michael:

Synova:

The amazing thing is that insurgents murdering election workers is seen to cast doubt on our mission and not theirs.

Well said. It's as if those of us on the right can't look at the picture for what it portrays, because we're too busy looking for another reason to vilify the MSM. I admit to having the same reflex. But if I just look at the picture again and drop my prejudices, it's actually a pretty powerful statement in favor of what the U.S. is trying to accomplish. Thanks for the perspective.

Paul:

If you guys don't knock it off, I'm going to post something about oozers!

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Areaman and I will behave, we promise. Your oozer posts are the true definition of a "circle of confusion." The lame "feeblebletzer adjustment" jokes are history -- please please please give the oozer thing a rest. (For a week or two).

hey- If you guys don't k... (Below threshold)
areaman:

hey- If you guys don't knock it off, I'm going to post something about oozers!

lol

nooooooooooooo!

But when a team of AP ph... (Below threshold)
areaman:

But when a team of AP photographers won a Pulitzer Prize on Monday for their work in the war zone, it was enough to motivate blogger Kevin Aylward to step up and point out the cloudiness of his partisan colleagues' thinking. "This is an unspectacular picture that has been blown completely out of proportion (sadly) by people on my side of the agenda," Aylward said. "Let's not get crazy huh? That's what the other side is best at."

Oops. Too bad the post was written by Paul.

Oops. Too bad the post w... (Below threshold)
Michael:

Oops. Too bad the post was written by Paul.

It had to be Kevin. Or at least Paul got the idea from Kevin. Paul is too stupid and biased for a really thoughtful post.

Thank you, Paul, for hav... (Below threshold)
julie:

Thank you, Paul, for having the courage to stand up for reason in the face of a growing reactionary and vitriolic outcry on both sides of the political fence. Here's to the voices of reason, on both sides

Courage? COURAGE? Get a grip, lady or man! There's no courage involved. And just b/c some people agree with you, does not make them the "voices of reason" as you put it. Can you be any more over the top?

Oh, and hate to burst your bubble about Paul, but read some of the evolution vs. creationism flame wars over the past couple of weeks and get back to me.

[Sorry, Paul. I had to do it for her sake, and more importantly, yours. You can thank me later.]

Killing the messenger has b... (Below threshold)
ben:

Killing the messenger has been a popular -- and ineffectual-- response to bad news since Herodotus. But blaming the messenger for not sprinting a hundred yards forward and whacking armed terrorists with his telephoto lens? Wow! You heroes need to quit reading Soldier of Fortune and eating pepperoni pizza so close to bedtime.

I have no idea what "Subscr... (Below threshold)
Joe Yowsa:

I have no idea what "Subscribe to this comment thread" means, so I will leave that unchecked.

Look. No one is trying to kill the messenger (the terrorist *possibly* *probably maybe* collaborator? Look. Why not just shove AP out of Iraq and now? Was their "photographer" at 300 meters or 50 meters? Do they know the difference? What was the alleged "tip off"? A demonstration? Or a car-bombing. Look. Get them out. They are clearly liars and probably terrorist collaborators.

"McGehee -- so why would yo... (Below threshold)
Joel:

"McGehee -- so why would you run up to a group of terrorists with guns in their hands when you were armed with a camera -- and not feel threatened?

In reply, I'll quote from Paul's original post:

Clearly it was both taken with a longish lens and cropped dramatically. (look at the grain) Admittedly my eyes see what most people don't in a photo but if I had to take a wild guess, I would guess the photographer could be 100 years away or more easily. (trust me I shot football for years)"

McGehee: The photo isn't cropped that much, if you look at the original "uncropped" version, so judging by the grain/noise, it was shot w/ either a crappy camera or high-speed film or @ high ASA setting if digital.

The problem is the AP is saying that the photographer took this with a 400mm lens that he just "grabbed."

With high-speed film, the photog COULD have PERHAPS hand-held that heavy 400mm and got that amount of depth-of-field WHILE stopping the motion of the killers AND eliminating his own camera shake...

But where is the COMPRESSION EFFECT that you get with a 400mm lens at that distance? Those cars look pretty far apart to me, not "stacked up" like you'd expect when shooting at 400mm.

There is no compensation for the "compression effect." It's physics.

But what do I know, I've only been a pro shooter for over 10 years...

"So why was the photographe... (Below threshold)
Christopher:

"So why was the photographer in the middle of the street and why didn't he stop the murders, or at least try."

"I'm not wild about the fact that we gave a prize ...to a reporter who stood around and watched two people get murdered."

Let's get a couple of things straight - it the job of soldiers and police to stop people from being murdered; it is the reporter's job to document events. SOMEONE has to take pictures, or there will be no pictures. Photographers are not equipped or trained to outwit and outmaneuver heavily armed thugs. Let's be very clear; to "try" to stop these murders, alone and unarmed (and even if you were armed), is certain death, and accomplishes nothing. This is not a Hollywood movie were the hero sees a mugging and pops the the would be assailant in the eye. These are people who chose a busy street in order to make a public display of murdering election workers, and who would think nothing of murdering one more person. They are not like a tornado; they are calculating and ruthless.

As it is, this photographer risked his safety to convey a fact about the ongoing war in Iraq. He was not standing "around and watch[ing] two people get murdered." He was showing us why we're over there and reminding us that the war is not just a yellow ribbon magnet. It is dirty, senseless, and bloody; it is a place where people who volunteer to move the country forward towards stability are killed for their efforts. The only people standing around and watching are us.

so are you mad b/c he was i... (Below threshold)

so are you mad b/c he was in on it or that the ppl died????




Advertisements









rightads.gif

beltwaybloggers.gif

insiderslogo.jpg

mba_blue.gif

Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile

Contact

Send e-mail tips to us:

tips@wizbangblog.com

Fresh Links

Credits

Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login



Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy