Eyeing A1

A look at newspaper front pages from around the country

Archive for the ‘anchorage’ Category

Looking at race on the front page

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After last week’s discussion in class, I wanted to find a newspaper front page that directly dealt with race.

I found the sub-headline aptly titled for the piece “Conflicting portrait.”

To give more meaning to that headline, The Star Ledger incorporates two photos of the black man. The first is a small headshot, but he looks angry and the photo itself actually looks darker. When looking at the newspaper it’s actually the first photo you see because many people tend to read top to bottom and left to right.

It’s interesting to note on the paper’s website, only the mug shot appears, which the reporter writes: “If a picture says a thousand words, the mug shot police released said “guilty” a thousand times.”

The man pictured in the newspaper is Lee Evans. He was arrested in March on five counts of murder in the disappearance of five teenagers 32 years ago. The article paints a portrait of Evans where is seen as a good person by his friends and family, but neighborhood folks have a much different view of him.

The lede of the story is nearly as important as the photos and the headline.

Here are the first two paragraphs:

Two pictures, one man. One continuing mystery.

Lee Evans was one of two cousins charged in March with five counts of murder in the disappearance of five city teenagers 32 years ago. Police said he was a menacing 6-foot-4, 225-pound street thug known as “Big Man” who kept a dark secret for three decades through intimidation of accomplices and witnesses. If a picture says a thousand words, the mug shot police released said “guilty” a thousand times.

By this point, he already sounds guilty. In fact, the reporter is using the image to make an argument.  Not facts or stories, but an image of the man to make a quick case. By writing these things at the very beginning of an article, the reporter is telling the viewer how to see the photo. There is not much left to intepretation.

Our brains already begin to move in one direction once we learn the headshot is actually a mugshot. That, of course, has a negative connotation associated with it.

This is a tough story because you’re dealing with a case of where is being charged with murder. Obviously, something happened where five teens are missing, but instead of writing about the boys who went missing 32 years ago, this newspaper paints a portrait of a man where they are initially negative.

Only toward the bottom of the article does it state there is no physical evidence against him and that there is only person witness.

The article ends with this:

This is not to say Evans is innocent. In Hampton’s story, only eight people would know for certain what happened on Aug. 20, 1978, and six of them are dead. That leaves Hampton and Evans.

If the police have more on him, they’re not saying. And that leaves two pictures, one man, one continuing mystery.

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Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

April 14, 2010 at 10:37 pm

Essay on the photo essay

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There are portions of Atlantic City that aren’t seen by visitors or even those that live there. Apart from the casinos, it’s a not a town anyone would go visit. There’s corruption in the government and crime on the streets. There are also people who live under the Boardwalk and call it home. I focused most of my photo set on this.

Almost every photo has alphabetic text that I incorporated with it. These weren’t captions but supplements to the photos to help make the message clearer.

If we look at the pure image of many of the photos, there is too much left to interpretation by the receiver. So what if there is a guy smoking a cigarette on a street corner or a closed supermarket? To get the reader to look deeper and see the message I want them to see, I added alphabetic text (in certain colors and fonts), different tones and captions.

Take the pictures of the two homeless men. There are two sentences in each photo. One describes who this man was before he found his way onto the streets. The other is how outsiders view him.

The ‘homeless’ stamp is in big, Hollywood-type font and bright colors because it is the initial reaction people have when they see them. The other sentence is smaller because it usually takes people looking harder and deeper to get to the truth.

It was important to highlight what I wanted people to look in each photo. The alphabetic text is arguably more important than the photo itself. I wanted people to see how they immediately label situations and how the subjects often time view the situation.

In Visual Culture: A Reader, Roland Barthes says, “We are still a civilization of writing, writing and speech continuing to be full terms of the informational structure (p. 38).” The captions accompany the alphabetic text in the photos to explain to the reader what the signifieds are in the image and to avoid everything else in the photo.

The very first image in the set has alphabetic text that evokes a different meaning of the pure image. The connotation signifies a warm, cozy place to live, somewhere a person feels comfortable and where they are always welcome. However, the picture – which purposely is hued in sepia tones to convey sadness – is of a place under the Atlantic City Boardwalk. To most of us, this is not a home. The text is to show the dichotomy between the thought of the saying and what is actually pictured.

The last photo perhaps was the most striking and had the least work done to it. I didn’t write the alphabetic text. They are handwritten names of dead homeless people. However, it was important to make it this last photo. I showed how some of the homeless lived leading up to this photo, but there is an end to all of them, and often to early. The homeless community is tighter than many realize and the people we walk past daily have names and have people who care about them. I put the photo last because I wanted their life to be shared first before we find out how it all ends.

The pictory was also mocked up.

This was the original photo taken of the Atlantic City beach.

raw Pictory photo

It was a cold, cloudy day and doesn’t evoke a feeling of happiness, summer and wanting to splash in the blue water. I changed the hues of the picture to make the photo more vibrant and have the colors really stand out. Bright colors evoke a feeling of happiness and joy, but one has to wonder why the beach is empty on what looks like a summer day.

A place that was once happy and probably full of kids running and laughing is empty, but there are people nearby. The homeless living under the Boardwalk with probably the best view of the ocean.

Here’s a link to the entire set and Pictory.

Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

March 25, 2010 at 11:00 am

My Pictory – revisted

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Once upon a time Atlantic City was a resort town. Families vacationed on the beach while letting the waves splash their feet. This was long before the casinos were built. The empty beach evokes memories of those long-gone days as the beach looks peaceful, but just a few steps away there are homeless living under the Boardwalk. The Atlantic City beach isn't a vacation for them, but the only home they have.

Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

March 24, 2010 at 11:02 pm

Atlantic City’s homeless – revisited

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Here’s a slideshow of the pictures for Atlantic City’s homeless.

Here’s an example of some of the photos:

Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

March 24, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Changing the meaning of photos

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During class this week, we went through photos Bill Wolff took while in Mexico. Different groups were created and were given titles to relate to each photo. Even though many of the groups used the same photos, they all meant something different based on the caption written by the group.

Here are some of the photos that were used.

This exercise was a good lesson to think about when doing our upcoming project.

Here’s one of the photos that I may use in the project.

Let’s play with captions.

1. A man looks out over the dunes into the water, thinking about his girlfriend situation.

2. A man checks on his cats that live around the Boardwalk in Atlantic City.

The first caption doesn’t even make mention of the feral cats living around the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. Instead, the reader is focused on the man and him gazing off.

The second caption makes you notice the cats now, in addition to the food and plates set out for them.

What kind if caption can you set up and how can we change the meaning of the image?

Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

March 8, 2010 at 10:53 pm

Let’s think for ourselves

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Advertising is a perfect example of visual rhetoric. They get you to think about what they want. The advertisers are getting their message across. This topic came up while discussing Visual Culture when the topic gravitated toward anchorage. Anchorage is text within a picture that grounds the reader into following a train of thinking.

You can take an innocuous object, include text and there is life to it.

Obviously, there are times when you see an ad and think, ‘Well, that was just ridiculous.’

But think about every ad played during the Super Bowl. Doritos, Snickers and Bud Light all conveyed the message that their product is fun and funny. By enjoying their product we don’t have to take anything too seriously. Why? Because that’s what the advertisers told us.

In class, we discussed how text with a picture gives you guidance into what the sender is trying to say. But what if that text is wrong. I’ve seen in newspapers when a caption is wrong. Why do we have to rely on other to make own opinion?

A good exercise when it comes to advertising is to look at a picture without the text. Imagine what the picture is trying to say.

Here’s an ad from Dunkin Donuts. I cropped out the words to the ad so you can see just the picture by itself. The first thing I notice is the body placement of the people. They are doing ‘Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil,’ while sitting behind a table.

There are no drinks or food on the table. Just a small vase on each.

Next, I look at what the people wearing. They are all wearing green aprons. For anyone who has visited Starbucks, this is similar to what the Starbucks baristas wear.

Clearly, Dunkin’ Donuts is mocking Starbucks, but why? They are in competition with each other. DD caters to a different crowd than Starbucks. After seeing just the picture without the text, what do you think is the ad’s message.

… I’ll wait.

Here’s the entire ad.

So, DD took Starbucks ’employees’ and they are so loyal to their company that they won’t speak bad about the coffee even though DD has superior coffee. Awesome.

Good thing I don’t drink coffee.

Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

February 23, 2010 at 12:03 am