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Posts Tagged: Photo Assignments from Bloggers

Michael Shaw, who dissects the political posturing of newswire photos at his BAGnewsNotes blog, has been posting unpublished images from photojournalists for years. During the 2008 presidential campaign he assigned, and even paid, photographer Alan Chin to make original photos for the blog. Here Alan reflects on the implications of that collaboration for photojournalists. Check out “Photo assignments…2” when Michael explains how Alan’s images uncover the spectacle of political press coverage.
An image by Alan Chin from the New Hampshire primary season. © Alan Chin

An image by Alan Chin from the New Hampshire primary season. © Alan Chin

I’ve been collaborating with Michael for a number of years. Initially it was because he had picked up an image of mine that was in the New York Times while I was freelancing for them in Iraq. One day I had Googled myself and I saw [my photo] was on this blog. I saw his commenters were reading all these things into it and I wrote in and said, I’m the photographer and I want to answer some of your questions. I was very factual, just to give more context. Of course no one had done that before. It started this whole interesting conversation online. Somehow in the process Michael was like, I’m really interested in hearing what you have to say and I would love to hear some more.

And in the next few years, any time I did something that I thought was interesting, after it was published or if I couldn’t get it published, I would send him a picture to let him run it on the blog. I figured, if it’s already been published or it’s not getting published, then what do I have to lose. I might as well have it be seen and talked about rather than just sitting on my hard drive.

Then when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama officially announced their candidacies, both of them did trips in New Hampshire and I decided to go up and shoot that. And I’m not a political junkie; I’m not a Washington photographer. I’m not very well experienced in this, I’ve never been in the bubble, but I thought this was obviously a really important time. So I sent Michael pictures from that because I couldn’t get them published. And he loved it, and the audience of the site loved it. And basically he committed, he said, look, you’re having a problem getting assignments. How about I pay at least a little bit, so at least you don’t go broke doing this, at least you can afford to put gas in your car, and you can cover some of these primaries for me. More »


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