NPR’s On the Media has an interesting piece on the topic of journalistic portrait photography.
It covers the neverending debate on whether the portrait is the vision of the photographer, it seems obvious to me, or a “true” representation of the subject/sitter.
What makes this story more interesting than most is who weighs in on the subject.
Platon especially, is very honest and straight forward about his approach, even wondering why he is still allowed to do what he does.
It is well worth the 15 minute listen.
As a student of the portrait, I love them when they are good, it is a great conversation although I found the narrator a bit heavy handed in his doom and gloom opinions on the state of portraiture and the agendas of all us photographers.
It still blows my mind that there is an assumption of neutrality or objectivity in any photographc work, even journalism. We have a duty to report what we see and to not change the facts, as we see it, but to assume that we all have no opinion and that it would not in some way come across in our work just seems nieve.
Honesty to the story and subject, absolutely, but objectivity is such a high minded and impossible thing to ask of anyone. We are all a result of our past experiences and emotions and there is no way in my mind to turn that off when we go to “work”.
Give it all a listen and chime in on how you feel.