In this Pulitzer Prize-winning photo from Sept. 7, 1965, a Vietnamese mother and her children wade across a river, fleeing a bombing raid on Qui Nhon by United States aircraft.
Newspapers get in trouble for their choice of photos — the Russell Williams front-page pairing in his favourite outfit and then in military uniform is one example — which amazes me, being a wordster.
I notice that the editor asks in the news meeting every morning, "Are we pictured up?" It's terrifically important that a front page be instantly graphically interesting, a punch in the attention gland for the jaded Toronto reader still searching in the morning for his head which seems to have gone missing as the children howl and the bus to work roars past, untaken.
He doesn't say, "Are we worded up?" because he naturally assumes that great clumps of words are already coming out, like a cement mixer with its funnel aimed at a great big empty.
See, I could just have said "hole." But I didn't. Writers are so special.
But the fact is that even as news photographers rage that their profession is disappearing, they are as crucial as they ever were. Before, you had to paint the news. That's why in art galleries, most portraits show people sitting down. Painting and posing, so dreadfully tiring. Then came photos, TV, colour TV, online, and YouTube and beyond. News photographers are panicked that only moving images can win, that if a skateboarder isn't filmed slamming his crotch directly into a concrete pillar, it might as well not have happened.
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