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The ‘frontline’ of Hrushevskogo, from the perspective of the police. The area just behind the concrete barricade was where you needed to have accreditation from the EuroMaidan press office. You can see how narrow the area really was, and where the majority of the photography took place. Central Kiev, Ukraine, 2014.

The Rules of Photojournalism Are Keeping Us From the Truth

Notes on a frozen art form from a World Press Photo juror and member of the VII photo agency

Donald Weber
Mar 17, 2015 · 11 min read

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Here are two examples of bad photography from the Orange Revolution, demonstrating the staging element of events. I relied on tropes of grief, joy and “peace” etc. This was the first thing I ever photographed in Ukraine.

Too Slick To Trust

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A Google image search for “Kiev Protests.” This contact sheet shows clearly our stranglehold on the ‘imaginary center’ and a total lack of peripheral understanding.

We see on our front pages only facsimiles of 90-year-old Leica versions of photos.

The Periphery Is Where It’s At

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I’m including this image because it illustrates the scale of the area surrounding EuroMaidan. This is just Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), where the speeches, tent city and encampments were located. Below this square is a large shopping mall. It was not uncommon for an event to occur outside, meanwhile people were shopping for jeans at Tommy Hilfiger below. I’m including it because I think it is the type of image that photojournalism too often forgets about.

Theatre Of War

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Sergiy Lebedynskyy and Vladyslav Krasnoshchok. From the series EuroMaidan
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Sergiy Lebedynskyy and Vladyslav Krasnoshchok. From the series EuroMaidan
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Sergiy Lebedynskyy and Vladyslav Krasnoshchok. From the series EuroMaidan

How Did Technique Come To Replace Story?

Digital formats gave us technical progress, but no visual progress.

Love Photographers First, and Photography Second

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This image is a composite of 9 image files. Look closely and you’ll see one man with a severed head, one man with half a skull and one man dismembered at the waist — not literally, they just appear so due to the stitch I made in post production. I left these anomalies in so as to “prove” that the images are not real. I have nothing to hide. There is much more action here than there was in any single view I had at Maidan. But it’s representative of what it felt like to be there. What we see in media — in mediated forms — is hyper reality. Nothing is real.

Time To Break Up

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More examples of my bad photography in 2004 of staged moments in Kiev, Ukraine following the Orange Revolution. The Orange Revolution was quite literally staged; television cameras, lighting, fireworks and other elements of spectacle appeared nightly, ready for prime time.

Vantage

Perspectives on Visual Storytelling

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