Saturday, January 06, 2007
Do we run pretty pictures?
Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise
It rained yesterday, and we needed something for the Region page. So, I went tromping out to get some weather features and test a new camera rain pouch (it's a Pelican collapsible rain pouch and soft-sided blimp - two thumbs up). I checked the high-water points around town, but nothing was flooding yet (the rivers and bayous should crest later today).
When I went downtown, the only person wandering around in the rain was a scary-looking dude with a black hat, leather jacket and some large, black thing attached to his hand. Hmmm, maybe this could explain the lack of pedestrians wherever I went.
Nonetheless, I decided to make some "pretty pictures." It was cool to simply make nice images for the sake of aesthetics. No story, just fluffy little views around town.
I went to turn them out before going to a school bond committee function. Finally, the question popped into my head. I asked Jennifer, "Do we run pretty pictures?" It hadn't come up before. I got an immediate (and expected) smarty-pants answer, but then she said she thought we did. Neither of us really knew for certain.
So, I asked Pete. He said we do. Whew. So, I put them in the system, and they didn't run because they weren't needed.
Now, I'm perplexed by the same question. Do we run pretty pictures? I'm still not certain.
I've always found some news angle for cool images. If I shoot a butterfly, we could call an entomologist and verify the genus and species and learn enough about migration patterns to make a filler story and the entomologist gets a scrapbook clip (if bugs don't eat it).
Y'all get the point. Almost anything can be a news story if we ask the right questions.
However, what happens when we want to enjoy the act of arranging colors and patterns into a pleasing composition? The image has no people, no verb, no reason whatsoever other than aesthetics.
At the core of this question is the basic difference between photographers and photojournalists. I made some images, but they're basically meaningless because they answer no legitimate question. They are nouns. IMO pretty nouns, but they aren't PJ work other than the fact I'm a PJ and I was "working" (always debatable). I even knew this while I made them. I was merely burning pixels until someone walked by with a colorful umbrella (which didn't happen).
So, what good are these images other than blog filler? I honestly don't know. Feel free to debate it in the comments section or your blogs. I deliberately posted the image without a cutline to see if it bothered anyone else.
Enough for now,