AI-AP | Pro Photo Daily » Reading Matter: A Round-Up of Insights, Ideas and Opinions About Image Making
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There is no shortage of ideas and opinions about photography and filmmaking on the web, which is good, because finding that stuff is what we do at Pro Photo Daily and Motion Arts Pro.
Today we round up a number of recent articles and posts that have come to our attention — some of which we have spotlighted in the daily newsletters and some we present here for the first time. Among them: Essayist Teju Cole proclaims that Steve McCurry’s photos are boring, international photojournalist David Guttenfelder writes about covering cultural divide in America, and photographer Steve Simon explores the conflict between being in the moment and photographing it.
Meanwhile, Time LightBox takes note of the rise of GIFs, the New York Times explains how new technologies are helping art books survive in a digital world, and SocialTimes wonders whether Facebook and Instagram curated news feed are better for users or advertisers.
After spending two years analyzing more than 400,000 stories, the American Press Institute has found what attracts and holds the attention of digital readers — and some of its findings are counterintuitive, notes Poynter. For instance, long stories are read at the same rate as short stories, and get more engagement. Photos (or audio or video clips) also boost engagement, but the effect is selective. Surprisingly, stories about government policy got a 75-percent boost from photos, perhaps because they humanize what could otherwise be dry information. By contrast, photos had no impact on engagement with stories on food and dining.
We recently spotlighted a provocative New York Times essay by photographer and writer Teju Cole, who argues that photojournalist Steve McCurry’s photographs (see above) are both visually perfect — and perfectly boring. Cole also noted that McCurry’s work is very popular. Why? Having recently viewed McCurry’s book India, Cole offers an explanation: “The photographs in India, all taken in the last 40 years, are popular in part because they evoke an earlier time in Indian history, as well as old ideas of what photographs of Indians should look like,” he writes.
At his blog, Steve Simon notes that photographers, himself included, walk on a thin line “between the world we inhabit and the world we photograph.” This offers them a unique perspective, Simon writes: “To do my thing I don’t need to be in the actual moment but need to concentrate and be in the ‘photographic moment.’ It’s often a lonely pursuit.”
After spending two decades working abroad, Iowa-born photojournalist David Guttenfelder recently came back to the US to explore Florida during the run-up to the Democratic and Republican primaries there. His experiences outside the US provided him with a sharpened sense of the cultural divisions in his home country, notes National Geographic. “[W]e Americans are more the same than we realize,” Guttenfelder writes.
For almost 30 years, the GIF lived on the fringe of photography: Despite being able to support animation, It was unable to handle colors as well as the JPEG. Now, GIFs are huge: In recent months, some of the largest and most influential technology companies have embraced the image format as a way to bridge the gap between still photography and video, notes Time LightBox, adding that pro photographers have yet to embrace the format to its full advantage. That also is changing.
Even in this era of all things digital, big institutions like the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and other regional museums, like the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, continue to produce new printed art books at an impressive rate, noted the New York Times recently. The don’t do it to preserve an artifact from the past, however: Instead, art books deliver “a sense of tactile immediacy,” says writer Greg Beato.
The exhibition “Common Sense(s),” recently on view at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, New York, makes the case that photo zines are more important than ever in the digital age. Vice talked with the show’s curator, Juan Madrid, about the value of paper and ink. We’re…in a golden age of printed matter, and exploring what can be considered a zine, along with the influence that zines have had on the world of photography to this day, is something I find immensely interesting,” says Madrid.
The Instagram world freaked last month when it was announced that the photo-sharing platform would drop chronological feeds in favor of feeds curated by an algorithm that calculates that people will be interested in. Instagram’s owner, Facebook, also has a curated feed, and, says SocialTimes, algorithmic feeds are becoming the norm all across the social media. “The question is: Do algorithmic feeds create a better user experience or do they enable social platforms to better serve advertisers?” asks the blog.
As this year’s big-league baseball season gets underway, the New York Times looks back at a single photograph from the 2015 season — a picture that Times photographer Chang W. Lee shot as Eric Hosmer of the Kansas City Royals dived home to tie Game 5 of the World Series against the New York Mets. Three innings later, the Royals scored five runs to win the championship. The Times tracked down 11 people sitting in the stands and watching as Hosmer scored — all caught in a moment of misery by Lee.