Archive for August 12th, 2005

British Journal of Photography

Link: British Journal of Photography.

The fall out of ‘citizen Journalism’ continues in the media post London Bombings. Simon Bainbridge, Editor of the British Journal of Photography raises the issue once more his editorial in this weeks issue (complete with his obligatory swipe at tea towel and jigsaw peddlers, BBC Worldwide!).

I think Pete Clifton sums up the BBC’s stance to the whole idea of user submitted content in his weekly ‘from the editor’s desktop’. namely.. “Will be BBC News site be splashing out? No. People can send us images if they want to, and our experience recently has been that the vast majority of readers simply wanted to share their images and had no interest in making money.

Also where do you draw the line as it’s not just photographs, pretty soon it’ll be about video, but what about emails, message board posts, have your say or even leaving a comment on Pete’s Newsletter?

I think the London Bombings through up a very particular set of circumstances that provided the right catalyst for User Generated Content to grow in:

1. The events all happened in a built up metropolitan area when vast amount of the population are armed with camera phones. They were simultaneous events which meant they were more opportunities to capture images, there was also a wide ‘affected’ area.

2. The main events happened underground and the press couldn’t get there, also the swift work of the police meant that white cordons went up around the bus while the press were probably still stuck in traffic.

3. The technology delivery method now in place means members of the public can MMS images to the BBC news desk faster than the Photographer can get is camera plugged into his laptop and GPRS’d back to his agency.

I’m still not sure photographers get it yet. For them, it’s now they make their living, so ergo if someone else starts doing what you do, you naturally assume they’re after what you get in return right? But I don’t believe it is. Like I said, it’s about sharing, proof and ultimately, kudos.

So, if you’ve got any images, and want to make money, try Reuters, the Press Association

Wednesday night BBC Four (bless ’em) showed ‘We’re Not Afraid’ which, though rather hastily put together, had interviews with We’re Not’s owner Alfie Dennan as well as some of the people who submitted images and talking heads from various broadcasters and photographers. It also looked at the follow ups, like

I was slightly let down by Tom Ang, whom I thought was a man who knew his onions, being amazed at people taking well known film stills or the underground roundel and customizing it with the ‘we’re not afraid’ text to create funny and alternate versions. Tom mate, this sort of thing has been going on on B3TA for years!

Which reminds me of something that happened a few years ago during the last World Cup, the ‘Argi Handbag Incident’ This is an example of a newspaper stealing someone else’s idea that went on to win News Photograph of the Year! And all the bloke got out of it was a free lunch!

So how long till a punter’s image takes World Press Photo of the Year? I reckon not too long…

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These are my personal views and not those of Channel 4 or the BBC
August 2005