In this story in The New York Times by David Gonzalez, Paolo Pellegrin, a photographer who has won some very high awards this year seems to have manipulated at least one of his images to mean something a bit more than it really should. Especially with everything going around right now concerning gun control, it certainly seems that thew photographer may have had a political agenda with this photograph. And maybe that’s not bad – at a certain time and place. But in this instance, I think maybe the photographer did not completely do his job here.
One of the most interesting things about the story is the subject’s explanation of what happened. Especially where he says, “One of the first things I thought was that’s strange, asking us to do something. I’m a student, he’s Magnum. I not going to question him.” I think this is a very important and telling statement. We must always remember that the photographer has a lot of power. The power of persuasion and the power to portray our subjects and manipulate them. How will a photographer use that power? Sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse.
It’s one thing to move your subject(s) to a better background. It’s another to manipulate them in a way that portrays the exact opposite of what – or who – they are, which I believe has been done in this photo. There’s always a fine line a photographer must walk – the difference between making a good photograph by exaggerating certain parts of a photograph to make the truth more evident, and changing the way the subject is portrayed to change the identity and meaning of the subject completely.
For even more information, read the article linked below: