Yet More on Visual News Releases

Santiago Lyon, vice president and director of photography for the Associated Press, has an op-ed piece in The New York Times about the current White House administration’s restrictive access policies to the president.

If it feels like I’m posting about this all the time, it’s probably because I am – and because everyone needs to be aware of it.

The official photographs the White House hands out are but visual news releases. Taken by government employees (mostly former photojournalists), they are well composed, compelling and even intimate glimpses of presidential life. They also show the president in the best possible light, as you’d expect from an administration highly conscious of the power of the image at a time of instant sharing of photos and videos.

By no stretch of the imagination are these images journalism. Rather, they propagate an idealized portrayal of events on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Mark E. Johnson

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