Archived entries for journalism

Ryszard Kapuscinski: “Siempre creí que los reporteros éramos los buscadores de contextos”

El maestro, como lo llamó Gabriel García Márquez, se queja de que los medios de comunicación actuales estén inundados de noticias aisladas, casi suspendidas, sin explicación alguna, y que el reportaje esté siendo expulsado de los principales periódicos. "Heródoto era un hombre curioso que se hacía muchas preguntas, y por eso viajó por el mundo de su época en busca de respuestas. Siempre creí que los reporteros éramos los buscadores de contextos, de las causas que explican lo que sucede. Quizá por eso los periódicos son ahora más aburridos y están perdiendo ventas en todo el mundo. Ninguno de los 20 finalistas de la última edición del Lettre-Ulysses del arte del reportaje [premio que se otorga en Berlín], y del que soy miembro del jurado, trabaja en medios de comunicación. Todos tuvieron que dejar sus empleos para dedicarse al gran reportaje. Este género se está trasladando a los libros porque ya no cabe en los periódicos, tan interesados en las pequeñas noticias sin contexto"."Cuando vemos imágenes de las pateras, con 20 o 40 personas en su interior, empezamos a hablar de inmigración, y los políticos proponen medidas para combatirla o regularla. Un día leemos una noticia sobre la llegada a Italia de un barco con kurdos; otro, el hallazgo de asiáticos encerrados en un camión en Inglaterra; otro, de africanos saltando la valla de Melilla… Pero se trata de pequeñas noticias separadas que no explican nada. Se nos presentan fuera de contexto porque el verdadero contexto es la miseria".

via "El sentido de la vida es cruzar fronteras" | Edición impresa | EL PAÍS.

Mia Couto: “En África no es que se viva un realismo mágico, es realismo real”

Ahí sí que hubo un clic que me hizo despertar. Fue cuando trabajaba de periodista, cuando comencé a apreciar la fuerza de la oralidad del país, la manera en que se transmite el pensamiento… Y eso era para mí sorprendente. Yo no estaba preparado, escribía noticias de modo más funcional y comunicativo… fue el hecho de empezar a contar lo que veía, o más bien esa lógica entre la realidad y la ficción que estaba detrás, lo que me hizo escritor.

via Mia Couto: “En África no es que se viva un realismo mágico, es realismo real” | El País Semanal | EL PAÍS.

small fates | TEJU COLE (II)

But the key aspect of the experience for the non-Nigerian is the cascade of names and places, both the names in traditional Nigerian languages, or the unexpected incursion of English-language names. Some of these “English” names would not be borne by anyone in England: Miracle, Precious, Gift, Sunday. The non-English names, on the other hand, place you deep inside a world that might, at first, feel hard to understand, or even to pronounce. But even for those who can’t tell an Igbo name from a Yoruba one, or what makes the culture of Bauchi state different from that of Edo, the stories remain poignant. They are human stories. There are crimes of passion, inexplicable murders, courtroom outbursts, and moments of greed.

via small fates | TEJU COLE.

small fates | TEJU COLE

As I began work on my new book, a non-fictional narrative of Lagos, and was paying more and more attention to daily life in the city, a peculiar thing happened. I found myself drawn to the “small” news. I began to read the metro sections of newspapers, and the crime sections. When I was in Lagos itself, where there is a thriving newspaper culture, I bought several papers and went through them each day. In Brooklyn, I rely on the internet, through which I have access to some dozen Nigerian papers each day: Daily Times, NEXT, Vanguard, Punch, This Day, National Mirror, Tribune, PM News, Guardian, and so on. What I found in the metro and crime sections of these papers was a different quality of everyday life. It was life in the raw, as one might find in the Daily News or the New York Post, but not so much in the New York Times.

A lot of this material does not have direct bearing on the book I am working on. It is too brief, too odd, and certainly too sensational for the kind of writing the book requires. The material needed another outlet. That outlet turned out to be a form of writing for which there is no exact English term: fait divers. This is a French expression, in common use for centuries, for a certain kind of newspaper piece: a compressed report of an unusual happening. What fait divers means literally is “incidents,” or “various things.” The nearest English equivalent is “news briefs” or, more recently, “news of the weird.” The fait divers has a long and important history in French literature. Sensationalistic though it is, it has influenced the writing of Flaubert, Gide, Camus, Le Clézio and Barthes. In Francophone literature, it crossed the line from low to high culture. But though a version of it was present in American newspapers, it never quite caught on in the English language as a literary form.

via small fates | TEJU COLE.

el acontecimiento más fotografiado de la historia de los medios de comunicación … al mismo tiempo aquel del que tenemos la impresión de haber visto menos imágenes

El 11 de septiembre es, sin duda, el acontecimiento más fotografiado de la historia de los medios de comunicación, pero es al mismo tiempo aquel del que tenemos la impresión de haber visto menos imágenes. Miles de cámaras apuntaban hacia el acontecimiento y sólo hay 30 fotografías publicadas en portada de los periódicos. Esta paradoja se explica fácilmente cuando se estudian los circuitos de difusión de las imágenes; ya que de las 400 portadas americanas estudiadas, 289 imágenes provienen de la agencia Associated Press, es decir, alrededor del 72%.

El 11 de septiembre tiene lugar en un momento particular de la historia de la fotografía de prensa. Desde la década de 1990, asistimos en efecto, a un reagrupamiento de los polos de difusión de imágenes. Las pequeñas agencias desaparecen, se reagrupan entre ellas o son compradas por grandes grupos de prensa. Los atentados del 11 de septiembre han confirmado el considerable peso que han adquirido en estos últimos años, y particularmente en las situaciones de urgencia, las grandes agencias filiales como Reuters, AFP y, sobre todo, Associated Press. Así, controlado por un número reducido de difusores, el mercado de las imágenes está canalizado, la oferta visual se enrarece, se repite y se uniformiza. En realidad, lo que el 11 de septiembre permite comprender son los efectos de la globalización sobre el mercado de las imágenes y, por lo tanto, sobre las representaciones de la actualidad.

¿Qué hemos visto del 11 de septiembre?
Clément Chéroux

“solamente testigos”

El fin del club “Nos sentíamos culpables. Nos sentíamos buitres. Habíamos pisoteado cadáveres, metafórica y literalmente, para ganarnos la vida. Pero no habíamos matado a esa gente. De hecho, salvamos vidas. Y, a lo mejor, nuestras fotos marcaron una diferencia, mostrándole al mundo la lucha de la gente por sobrevivir, algo que de otro modo no hubieran conocido, o no tan nítidamente. Hubo momentos, como en Soweto, donde fui culpable por no intervenir. Pero yo no tenía la culpa por los miles de hutus muriendo de cólera en el este del Zaire, ni por la policía abriendo fuego sobre civiles desarmados en Boipatong. El sentimiento de culpa quizá tenía que ver con nuestra incapacidad de ayudar. Manejar la culpa es fácil. Superar la incapacidad de ayudar es mucho más difícil, casi imposible. Hoy puedo decir que no sufrimos ni la centésima parte de lo que sufrió la gente de nuestras fotografías. Hoy puedo decir que no éramos responsables: solamente testigos”.

via Los que vieron demasiado, por Mariana Enríquez.

Afterward he sat under a tree, lit a cigarette, talked to God and cried.

In 1993 Carter headed north of the border with Silva to photograph the rebel movement in famine-stricken Sudan. To make the trip, Carter had taken a leave from the Weekly Mail and borrowed money for the air fare. Immediately after their plane touched down in the village of Ayod, Carter began snapping photos of famine victims. Seeking relief from the sight of masses of people starving to death, he wandered into the open bush. He heard a soft, high-pitched whimpering and saw a tiny girl trying to make her way to the feeding center. As he crouched to photograph her, a vulture landed in view. Careful not to disturb the bird, he positioned himself for the best possible image. He would later say he waited about 20 minutes, hoping the vulture would spread its wings. It did not, and after he took his photographs, he chased the bird away and watched as the little girl resumed her struggle. Afterward he sat under a tree, lit a cigarette, talked to God and cried. “He was depressed afterward,” Silva recalls. “He kept saying he wanted to hug his daughter.”

(…)With the Pulitzer, however, he had to deal not only with acclaim but also with the critical focus that comes with fame. Some journalists in South Africa called his prize a “fluke,” alleging that he had somehow set up the tableau. Others questioned his ethics. “The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering,” said the St. Petersburg (Florida) Times, “might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene.” Even some of Carter’s friends wondered aloud why he had not helped the girl.

Carter was painfully aware of the photojournalist’s dilemma. “I had to think visually,” he said once, describing a shoot-out. “I am zooming in on a tight shot of the dead guy and a splash of red. Going into his khaki uniform in a pool of blood in the sand. The dead man’s face is slightly gray. You are making a visual here. But inside something is screaming, “My God.’ But it is time to work. Deal with the rest later. If you can’t do it, get out of the game.” Says Nachtwey, “Every photographer who has been involved in these stories has been affected. You become changed forever. Nobody does this kind of work to make themselves feel good. It is very hard to continue.”

via PRESS:THE LIFE AND DEATH OF KEVIN CARTER by Scott Macleod (Sep, 1994).

Kevin Carter: Vulture and Sudanese Boy

In March 1993, while on a trip to Sudan, [Kevin] Carter was preparing to photograph a starving toddler trying to reach a feeding center when a hooded vulture landed nearby. Carter reported taking the picture, because it was his “job title”, and leaving.

Sold to the New York Times, the photograph first appeared on 26 March 1993 and was carried in many other newspapers around the world. Hundreds of people contacted the Times to ask the fate of the boy. The paper reported that it was unknown whether he had managed to reach the feeding center. In 1994, the photograph won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography.[5]

Alternative account of the photograph

João Silva, a Portuguese photojournalist based in South Africa who accompanied Carter to Sudan, gave a different version of events in an interview with Japanese journalist and writer Akio Fujiwara that was published in Fujiwara’s book The Boy who Became a Postcard.

According to Silva, Carter and Silva travelled to Sudan with the United Nations aboard Operation Lifeline Sudan and landed in Southern Sudan on 11 March 1993. The UN told them that they would take off again in 30 minutes (the time necessary to distribute food), so they ran around looking to take shots. The UN started to distribute corn and the women of the village came out of their wooden huts to meet the plane. Silva went looking for guerrilla fighters, while Carter strayed no more than a few dozen feet from the plane.

Again according to Silva, Carter was quite shocked as it was the first time that he had seen a famine situation and so he took many shots of the children suffering from famine. Silva also started to take photos of children on the ground as if crying, which were not published. The parents of the children were busy taking food from the plane, so they had left their children only briefly while they collected the food. This was the situation for the boy in the photo taken by Carter. A vulture landed behind the boy. To get the two in focus, Carter approached the scene very slowly so as not to scare the vulture away and took a photo from approximately 10 metres. He took a few more photos before chasing the bird away.

Two Spanish photographers who were in the same area at that time, José María Luis Arenzana and Luis Davilla, without knowing the photograph of Kevin Carter, took a picture in a similar situation. As recounted on several occasions, it was a feeding center, and the vultures came from a manure pit waste:

“We took him and Pepe Arenzana to Ayod, where most of the time were in a feeding center where locals go. At one end of the enclosure, was a dump where waste and was pulling people to defecate. As these children are so weak and malnourished they are going ahead giving the impression that they are dead. As part of the fauna there are vultures that go for these remains. So if you grab a telephoto crush the child’s perspective in the foreground and background and it seems that the vultures will eat it, but that’s an absolute hoax, perhaps the animal is 20 meters.”

via Kevin Carter – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

donmccullin-berlinwall-1961

Don McCullin: West Berliners looking into East Berlin through a crack in the Berlin Wall at the time of its construction. West Berlin, Germany, November 1961

I felt I was in the right place at the right time, I had an almost magnetic emotional sense of direction pulling me to extraordinary places.

“It could almost have been as if I had wandered into Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin. I met up with the correspondent but we didn’t work together. In the evenings we’d meet and I’d tell him what I’d photographed. I went straight down to Friedrichstrasse and started working with my Rolleicord of course, I was sitting on the biggest story in the world. I saw the East Germans drilling the foundations and building the Wall breeze block by breeze block.

The Americans were facing the East Germans across Friedrichstrasse and there was enormous tension. In places, Berlin looked like the war had finished just the day before. It was turning into the Berlin that John Le Carré was to describe. I watched the international photographers pass through. I was in awe of these professionals. I was like a little camera-club person from north London working with the camera my mother had retrieved from a pawnshop. But fate was waving some magic wand, directing me. It was so exciting. I felt I was in the right place at the right time, I had an almost magnetic emotional sense of direction pulling me to extraordinary places.”

via The Berlin Wall – Don McCullin’s Lost Negatives – LightBox.



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