Opinion: How pictures appear in the newspaper

POSTED: 11/4/13 2:28 AM

We received a curious complaint from an anonymous reader about a picture of Public Health Minister Cornelius de Weever on page 3 last week Thursday.  The picture shows a close up of the minister and therefore does not depict his whole face.

Our reader’s complaint went something like this: why do you only publish a part of the minister’s face? If you do that with Minister De Weever, you have to do it with Sarah as well.

When we said that, actually, we had once published a picture on the front page of our Prime Minister that literally showed only half her face, the frustrated reader hung up.

The thing with pictures is, we thought, that a lot of them are so incredibly boring. Men in suits behind a table looking like they are dealing with very serious business. Politicians sitting behind their desks in parliament. A group photo of a bunch of dignitaries. A bank director handing over a check to somebody else. And so on.

We have those pictures in Today as well – at times it is simply unavoidable. But when we see an opportunity for an experiment, we will jump on it.

We remember a remark from MP Roy Marlin who once came with a similar request, almost suggesting that we had zoomed in on his eyes and his glasses for some dark an undisclosed purpose.

That is not the mentality at our newspaper. We are constantly looking for ways to make the paper visually more attractive. You don’t get there with boyscout photos of a man or woman behind a desk all the time.

We do realize that the picture of Minister De Weever triggered a reaction. Good or bad, the reader who called us (and rudely hung up the phone when our answer was apparently unsatisfactory) realized that something was different about this particular picture.

That is exactly the point: we want to prevent at times to be predictable. That the reader was unhappy about this photo choice and opted to vent her frustrations to us is her good right and we appreciate the reaction. After all, it is an indication of how readers experience the paper we put out every day. But we’re definitely not zooming in on someone’s face for negative reasons or ulterior motives.

To show that we are not targeting any particular politicians, we offer here a selection of pictures we published earlier. Oh, before we forget, we also once published a series of cartoonized pictures. We’ll add one here of National Alliance leader William Marlin.

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