Fear of the Mundane

Upon retrospection about the subject of the newsworthiness of images, the most obvious thought to me is money. Media is a business, and media outlets need their reader base keep the lights on, and the editor’s stomach filled. Therefore, often the principle motivation behind the choice of the photo is its ability to grab the attention of the readership, and enhance the viewer’s understanding of the subject. Yet, because media is still a business, subject to law suits, and often is preoccupied with the maintenance of its reputation, rather than the spread of the truth. That is the principle factor behind the reluctance of the publishing of Jarecke’s photo. News media outlets did not want to contradict the narrative of the Gulf War as a clean war, and be labeled as radical new source.

However, this concept of requirement of attentiveness of images is crucial: images of the mundane are unpublishable. Media ouimg_0106tlets are equally fearful of being labeled as mundane as radical. Images of the mundane however yield a significant amount of utility to a news piece. If the commercial interests of the media outlet were to be ignored, then the significant reason why the image is included is to enhance the reader’s understanding of the subject. Take my image of the dumpster for example. This image of the dumpster is a perfect example to a reader of the direct impact they have on the reduction of waste, and food waste. Coupled with an explanation that a small community such as my apartment complex requires a dumpster to handle the volume of waste, this image yields a great amount of utility in spreading the awareness of waste in our society. Most readers will have a direct interaction with a dumpster in their lifetime, therefore this image is far more
to the reader than an image of a sea of garbage in a place they have never been.

In closing my photo would never be published due to fear of the mundane. Papers would rather public photos of the city dump, or the massive islands of garbage of the ocean than my photo of a dumpster. This is to catch the greatest amount of attention from the pool of possible readers, to generate greater sales and revenues. This is a loss, because of the ability of a mundane phot to generate an understanding in the viewers of their personal impact they may have on an issue.

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2 thoughts on “Fear of the Mundane

  1. I like that you bring up the point that a news source is not likely to use a this picture for a story on small apartment community waste, instead opting for a more dramatic, probably only vaguely related picture. It is true that very few people would actually be attracted by a picture of these dumpsters, while many more are going to be drawn in by those pictures of landfills or trash floating in the ocean like you mentioned. Interestingly enough, this misrepresentation only contributes to the massive amounts of clickbait we have on the internet, upsetting people, and making them wish the picture was a more accurate depiction of the content of the article. It’s a vicious cycle, if anything.

  2. I hear what you’re saying, Michael. The image you have provided is indeed mundane. Though many of us will spend a part of our life interacting with these receptacles, a plain image alone is not enough for a business to run it on A1. I believe this image could have potential impact, though, if paired with the appropriate caption or body copy. If there were a groundbreaking statement or story to accompany the image, the reader may pause to reconsider such a simple image.

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