Author Mark E. Johnson

Inside the Canon EOS R

Sometimes, I really want to take things apart … then I remember I would be responsible for putting them back together. Which makes me happy when Roger Cicala at LensRentals.com does it.

They last camera I disassembled was an all-mechanical Nikon, things have changed.

Photo Editing and Senate Hearings

Over at the Columbia Journalism Review, Darrel Frost takes a look at how last week’s supplemental Supreme Court hearings were handled visually.

The dilemma is what can you or should you show in one frame when an event went on for more than that 1/250 of a second. My thinking has always been that you look for an image that is both accurate (meaning, it happened) and true (meaning, it represents the overall story). Does that open you up to criticism? Sure, but part of journalism is looking at the larger story and putting the individual elements within context.

The word-side has it much harder – how would you describe the nominee’s testimony? The other witness?

Calming Ways and Sharp Eyes

Over at The New York Times Lens blog, David Gonzalez looks back at the first African-American woman to be a staff photographer there. Ruby Washington, a South Georgia native, died earlier this year.

“The temperature would go down a couple of degrees because she had that nice, calming way and was nonthreatening with a ready smile,” Ms. (Nancy) Weinstock said, echoing the remarks of her colleagues on social media. “She would observe, step back a little, and she was very observant. She would see before shooting. She wasn’t one to shoot from the hip.”

Worth some time to look at her work.

The Story Goes On, the Story Goes Out

There’s a tie between first responders and journalists – they’re the most likely to head towards trouble spots in communities. To be there, to bear witness, to document and explain so others can be informed or prepared, that’s what journalists do.

When storms like Hurricane Florence hit, the best and worst of journalists comes out. The split between the visual and the textual in this News & Observer story by Booke Cain is … stunning.

Cain writes about the efforts of local journalists to keep their communities informed while the image is of a television news crew wandering out into the surf or, optimistically, being surprised by a wave.

Yes, journalists need to be there. No, they should never put themselves or others in danger.

We’ve Lost Marc Riboud

I don’t know when I first came across Marc Riboud’s work, but his book on China affected me deeply. It was a seemingly casual yet amazingly precise look at the country during a time when few had access to it.

Riboud passed last week at the age of 93, Oliver Laurent at Time has a look at his work.

Ways of Seeing

At The Washington Post, David Nakamura takes a look at alternate ways of covering the mundane.

Colorado Journalist Detained by Police for Recording from a Public Place

After stopping to investigate police activity, Susan Greene was told to stop recording because it would be a HIPAA violation. When she refused, she was handcuffed and put in the back seat of a police car and then released.

Some things to unpack here … Greene was in a public place as were the police so there is no expectation of privacy there. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act only applies to medical professionals. And by detaining and then releasing her, they prevented her from doing her job. Even with no charges being filed, this was effectively a case of prior restraint by a government official.

College Photographer of the Year Call for Entries

If you’re a college student, it’s time to get your portfolio together – the entry deadline for the 73rd College Photographer of the Year competition is September 23.

There is no entry fee for this – why wouldn’t you enter?

How Salt and Silver Bind Us

Well now I want to go to the Yale Center for British Art to see an exhibition

That BBC video has me thinking thoughts too deep for a pre-coffee Sunday morning, about how to change the way I teach photojournalism and, perhaps, who I teach it to. My classes are not about photography, they are about community, understanding, compassion and helping others build knowledge. That same approach could work in a larger class aimed at other disciplines – using the tool of photography to help better understand science, archeology, history, economics.

It’s truly a small shift in perspective.

I should go make some coffee …

What’s Newsworthy?

The visual coverage of President Franklin D. Roosevelt has fascinated me for years. Stricken with polio, he was mostly unable to walk without either physical or mechanical assistance, yet the journalists of the time almost never recorded that fact.

It’s perhaps one of the greatest ethical discussions on how we cover those in power – what matters, what doesn’t and what’s the effect of that coverage.

Polio, as a physical ailment, had no impact on his intellectual abilities and, therefore, no impact on his ability to do the work required of being president. But how would the general public have responded? Would they have been able to understand that the damage to his legs had no impact on his ability to lead?

The decision not to film or photograph was, I think, an ethical choice. Journalists collect massive amounts of information, assess it, analyze it, vet it, contextualize it and then publish it. Part of that assessment is understanding what the reaction to it will be, that understanding of your audience is a critical part of the process.

This comes up as nearly 90 minutes of unseen silent films of President Roosevelt are about to be released. Michael Ruane of the Washington Post touches on the issue in the video there, worth a watch.