Looking in the Right Direction

Over at the Poynter Institute, David Griner looks at the history of a 1992 photograph from a Ku Klux Klan rally in Gainesville, Georgia – and how it has come back to life over the last 20 years.

The photojournalist who made the image, Todd Robertson, is an alum of the program I now teach in, though he’s not in the journalism business anymore. After freelancing for a while, he decided to join his family’s business and walked away from photojournalism.

The image is … startling. But, as Griner says, it does force you to think:

This comment captures what makes Robertson’s photo so compelling. It’s a fleeting moment, but one that you could spend hours reflecting on, finding different nuances and interpretations. It becomes a sort of Rorschach test for each commenter’s worldview. It might leave you hopeful that hate isn’t a trait we’re born with. Or it might make you depressed about the fact that many children are destined to be corrupted and psychologically misshapen.

As for how it came to be, Robertson says at the end, “I was looking in the right direction, I guess.”

Maybe, but he looked and he saw – that’s the difference.

Mark E. Johnson

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