Tuesday, August 10, 2010

L.A. Times Launches Visual Journalism Blog

Kudos to the Los Angeles Times for its launch of the new Framework blog devoted to visual journalism.

At first glance, its style and format is clearly inspired by the New York Times' excellent Lens blog -- but we're not saying that's a bad thing (except for maybe the reverse white-on-black type, which ironically is hard on the eyes).

Its initial content is a mixed bag. They sent two staff videographers to tag along on a staff photographer's assignment -- a simple portrait of a DJ in his home studio. We were expecting that the video would provide an inside glimpse of the task of capturing a still image of this musician. We thought we'd see and hear about the aesthetic and journalistic choices involved in setting, lighting, posing, props and wardrobe. (The subject is seen with his turntable and pet cat.) But strangely the video is all about the DJ -- who we listen to as he's being photographed -- and very little about the act of photographing him.

The blog's self-described mission is to "celebrate the power and explore the craft of visual storytelling. The blog highlights the work of Times photojournalists who, frame by frame, document the drama, the emotion and sometimes the humor of life. Framework also aims to serve as a resource hub for photography, multimedia and video enthusiasts who share our passion. We will trade insights and discuss the tools and techniques of telling stories through images."

Curiously one of the meatier offerings about tools and techniques, however, is told not through images but with a humorous text article. In his essay, "Need Some Instructions on Those Instructions?", Robert Lachman bemoans the increasing intricacy of whiz-bang cameras, something all photojournalists and videojournalists can relate to.

It’s hard to believe how complicated cameras have become. My new Canon EOS 7D has so many bells and whistles that even I, a so-called pro, sometimes find myself befuddled. It’s part camera, part computer, not to mention that most of the functions can be controlled from various parts of the camera. Push this button down, hold that, turn this…

This got me wondering if there wasn’t a better way to understand my camera.
He started with the manual, but we all know where that leads... Eventually he corralled a shelf full of books and DVDs (pictured) to help him sort through all the confusion, and he offers his helpful recommendations.

Subsequent postings take us behind the scenes in first-person accounts by Jay L. Clendenin, who shot a celebrity portrait of Bono without his trademark sunglasses... and Boris Yaro, who captured the iconic image of Robert Kennedy on the floor of L.A.'s Ambassador Hotel just after he was gunned down by Sirhan Sirhan.

We look forward to watching Framework expand and improve as a valuable resource, and hope you'll join us in checking it out daily for fresh and inspiring material.

P.S. ... and of course, don't forget to check out KobreGuide's Los Angeles Times channel, for their best videojournalism. It was the Times' powerful Marlboro Marine video, by Luis Sinco, that launched KobreGuide two years ago!

No comments: