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EVENT / SEARCHING FOR THE MIRROR

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  • 1. DECEMBER, 2013 Between a documentary and Words Photography Inspiration A FICTIONAL IMAGE DEADLINE EVERY SECOND By KEN KOBRÉ & JOHN HEWITT How to recognise and perceive the actual truth in the flood of various images in the world of the 21st century ? www.artkontaktbmi.com
  • 2. Briefing The documentary “Deadline Every Second” takes you behind the scenes with photojournalists of the Associated Press Ken Kobré the West Bank and Gaza to Israel). You will be there as they capture still images ranging from sports and light features to danger and grief. They cover demonstrations in Greece and San Francisco, the earthquake in Haiti, a US Marine patrol in Afghanistan, an assassination attempt in Pakistan. They share strategies for Deadline Every Second: On Assignment With 12 Associated Press Photojournalists, 56 min Producer: KEN KOBRÉ Co-producer: JOHN HEWITT The AP sends 3,000 pictures every day. More than a million pictures a years. Over a billion people a day see Associated Press photographs on the pages of their newspapers, magazines, and in the relentless roll of Internet news coverage flashing on computer screens. The documentary “Deadline Every Second” takes you behind the scenes with photojournalists of the Associated Press, the world’s largest news picture agency. You will be on deadline with 12 top AP photographers in the U.S. (from California wildfires to Wall Street), Europe (from 10 Downing St. to the Tour de France) and the Middle East (from Photograph by Jeff Chiu—AP approaching an assignment, whether it’s the arrival of a wax figure of Obama for a museum, or a fiery clash in the West Bank. Be there at the center of the action with front-line shooters who cover stories behind global headlines that range from comic features to international tragedy. “Deadline Every Second: On Assignment with 12 Associated Press Photojournalists” will change how you look at news images, especially if they bear the credit AP Photo.
  • 3. Photograph by Stane Jeršič—BAST
  • 4. ESSAYS nov. 20 / 2012 6 | Editorial BRIEFING BRIEFING Images of the World “Beyond Us” 27 | Mateja Rek Artkontakt 8 | Lightbox Chris Carlson ARTKONTAKT 11 | Miro Petek 37 | Creativity. Photography. Inspiration. Photo – Not Merely an Addition to the Text What a Wonderful World Photograph by Barbara Jakše Jeršič—BAST ANALY S I S 15 ON THE COVER: Searching for a Just Photographic and Cinematic Image Andrej Šprah Publisher: ARTKONTAKT artkontakttm@gmail.com tel.: +386 (0)5 994 71 10 Photograph by Jeff Chiu —AP For me, the most important thing in a photo is the story through which I acquaint people with what is happening and offer the reader and viewer a new side of understanding. But if you want to persuade people to care about what is in the photo, you have to make them look at the shot by way of aesthetics and the right moment. You arouse their interest in what is happening. The people I want to reach with my photo are perhaps those that do not read the newspaper and do not care about what goes on in the world. I want to make such people look at the photo and prevent them from not responding to it. I want them to realize that their ignorance is not justifiable. I want a photo that arouses the interest of people at a bus stop or in the street so that because of the drama in it they stop and buy a newspaper.— Ed Ou (photojournalist)
  • 5. Editorial Searching for The Mirror How to subtly word the documentary, relentless photographic and filmic images shown in the exceptional documentary on Associated Press photojournalists? How to recognise and perceive the actual truth in the flood of various images in the world of the 21st century where, through the prism of competitvness and the spontaneous development of new ways of communication, dynamical technologies unstoppably transform our perception of the world? The answer also lies in our subjective responsibility towards rendering the truth, our personal commitment to an in-depth understanding of time and space. If we outline the arc from the introductory text “Photo – Not Merely an Addition to the Text” by a former journalist and a Member of the Slovenian Parliament Miro Petek, the current acting General Director of the Directorate for Media at the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the Republic of Slovenia, to the essay “Searching for a Just Photographic and Cinematic Image” by Andrej Šprah, Head of the Research and Publishing Department of the Slovenian Cinematheque, we could say that objectivity in media reality is a myth, an ideal worthy of special attention. It doubtlessly requires the individual moral commitment and a high degree of ethics of everyone who produces, uses and reflects images in small media environments as well as the broadest international media space. Barbara Jakše Jeršič ARTKONTAKT Photograph by Stane Jeršič—BAST
  • 6. Briefing Collecting photographs means collecting the world. “If there is a crisis in world photojournalism today, it is a crisis of editing and publishing, not of photography.” JOHN G. MORRIS Guenther Cartwright, recounts how the question “Is photojournalism dead?” or the slogan “Photojournalism is dead!” has found its way into newspaper headlines in practically every decade. 3.000 Pictures AP sends every day 12 Top AP photographers in the U.S. 8 Countries 1 Photograph by Stane Jeršič—BAST Documentary Deadline Every Second
  • 7. Briefing Lightbox
  • 8. Photograph by Chris Carlson—AP
  • 9. Photograph by Julie Jacobson—AP
  • 10. Briefing The film necessarily opens many general questions regarding the journalistic profession and its ethics. Miro Petek I was a journalist for a quarter of a century. Let me correct myself, I still am a journalist because a journalist always remains a journalist even when their professional path leads them somewhere else. And I myself feel that way. Journalism is always with me even when I am on the other side. This distance, the experience from the other side, can be very useful, since it offers a different view of journalists and journalism. I watched Deadline Every Second with great interest. Several times. It is an excellent film by excellent creators, which has to reach the expert and general public. The film pays homage to photojournalists and photojournalism. It shows the fascination of photojournalism and the journalistic profession in general. It indicates how much adrenalin this profession releases. It is true that not everybody feels this journalistic adrenalin equally; most do not even have it and remain at the level of journalistic clerks. To be the first, to be edgy, to be exclusive, to be watched, to be read, to be cited, to take the best photo, to write a good, resounding text, to investigate a story and overthrow the government, uncover large-scale corruption, to intervene in the background, to make a report from a war zone be read, to be aired on the most important television stations, to receive awards. That Photograph by Stane Jeršič—BAST is the adrenalin of full-blooded journalism, may the journalists admit it or not. To uncover what others are trying to hide, to take your camera where most do not dare to go. The best or the most resounding journalistic and photojournalistic stories today come precisely from hot spots and dangerous areas. The World Press Photo award usually goes to a photojournalist who managed to capture a tragedy, violence, human or natural disaster, cruelty of war, human drama or death.
  • 11. Briefing The media world is also global and the film necessarily opens many general questions regarding the journalistic profession and its ethics, as well as the question regarding our place in this, the place of Slovenia and Slovenian journalism. In the Slovenian press, photojournalists do not carry enough weight and do not get enough attention, although we do have a few excellent photojournalists. Editors do not consider photos ‘PHOTO – NOT MERELY AN ADDITION TO THE TEXT .’ ―MIRO PETEK as elements that are equal to, sometimes even more important than the text. All too often, photos serve merely as an addition to the text, as its illustration, editors equip it with their “linguistic message”. It has become standard practice in Slovenia, for photojournalists’ shots to be concentrated on a few pages, just to get the taste of them, while the role of a photographer is all too often assumed by the journalists themselves. It is a known fact that you cannot write and take photos at the same time. But above all, you cannot simultaneously do both very well, which is why the dichotomy between a photographer and a journalist is necessary. It is quite awkward when a journalist first interviews someone and then grabs a camera, usually of low quality, and starts taking photos. It is unpleasant for the journalist, but even more so for the interviewee who gets the feeling that their not worthy of a professional photo. In Slovenian media space, savings are made on photojournalists and consequently good photos, which is why photos are the inferior part of the Slovenian press. When media owners and editors take a look at the reasons for the drastic decrease in print media circulation in recent years, they will have to examine their own responsibility and not only point to the new media and difficult economic conditions. They will have to ask themselves whether they have used the entire range of media creativity and attraction that a good photo offers. If nine photo editors at The New York Times go through fifteen thousand photos a day and, in the end, select around a hundred of them, then it is evident what significance mainstream media ascribe to newspaper photos and also to those that create them. Thus, with their approach to newspaper photos, big world newspapers and magazines are saying that photojournalism is not dead. Such media have their own audiences, which are more demanding, more educated, which do not accept instant media production and offer and want something more than internet pollution and
  • 12. Photograph by Lefteris Pitarakis—AP over-communication. Just like objectivity is a myth in journalism, an ideal that can never be reached, so, too, we cannot speak of objectivity in a newspaper photo, although it does freeze the moment in time. Leafing through Slovenian newspapers, we can immediately notice that some almost disdain or despise the reportage form of a newspaper photo and use it primarily for interpretation or evaluation. This is part of the context of today’s media landscape in Slovenia, where the borders between journalistic genres have disappeared or, rather, journalistic genres are ignored, reports are commented and interpreted and even an ordinary piece of news is becoming a commentary. MIRO PETEK, who graduated in journalism from the Faculty of Social Sciences in Ljubljana, worked as a journalist for the daily Večer and contributed to many other Slovenian newspapers for more than two decades. He received the main two Slovenian journalistic awards for his investigative journalism (Consortium Veritatis and Jurčič Award) and the Croatian journalistic award Goose Feather. He was acquainted with Western journalism during an educational course at the The Guardian in London. Because of his journalistic uncovering of the sidetracks of Slovenian transition, there was an attempt on his life in 2001. The contractor and attackers remained unpunished. He served as a member of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia for two terms. Currently, he is the acting General Director of the Directorate for Media at the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports. He is the author of three books: Upanje v Dolini smrti (2008), V Sovinem gnezdu (2010) and Hvala za besedo (2011).
  • 13. Photograph by Khalil Hamra—AP
  • 14. A N A LYSIS Visual Storytelling The main tendency of the film – showing the reality of photojournalistic work process. Andrej Šprah Deadline Every Second (USA, 2011, hereinafter Deadline) is a documentary conceived and co-signed by cinematographer and producer Ken Kobré and co-produc- Photograph by Barbara Jakše Jeršič—BAST er and editor John Hewitt, which at the heart of its thematic commitment foregrounds the question of contemporary photojournalism. Specifically: in its fundamental conceptions, the film confronts us with the work process in which photojournalists create images that convey the truth of events in the world every day, every hour, practically every second. The photojournalists that the film follows on their assignments are the renowned names of the leading Associated Press (hereinafter AP) photographers: Oded Balilty, Chris Carlson, Jeff Chiu, Richard Drew, Khalil Hamra, Julie Jacobsen, Mark Lennihan, Bebeto Matthews, Lefteris Pitarakis, Laurent Rebours, Marcio Jose Sanchez and Tara Todras-Whitehill. The fields of interest they work in range from “covering” the everyday of political figures, sports spectacles, religious ceremonies and the structures of monetary institutions to the hot spots of humanitarian disasters, armed conflicts, political demonstrations and terrorist attacks. At the same time, the film gives us an insight into the workings and editorial decision-making of the agency that the portrayed photojournalists work for. The two filmmakers have in-depth knowledge of the topics and (mass)media activities that the film explores and problematises. Ken Kobré has, among other things, made the documentaries Inside Sports Illustrated (2006) and Shooting Stars: Assignment Cannes Film Festival (2002), while John Hewitt is a documentary filmmaker, who signed Smokestack Lightnin’: The Life of Howlin’ Wolf (2005) and worked as a director, co-producer, scriptwriter and editor on Landmines
  • 15. ANA LY S IS of the Heart: Cambodia’s Struggle for Reconciliation (1999). In addition to their “practical” activities, we have to point out also the theoretical, journalistic and educational aspect of their work: both are professors at San Francisco State University, where Kobré teaches photojournalism and Hewitt documentary production, while their bibliographies include a series of influential texts. If we highlight only the most prominent works, then we cannot overpass Kobré’s Photojournalism: The Professionals’ Approach (Focal Press, 2008, which is already the sixth edition of this book) and his recently published Videojournalism: Multimedia Storytelling (2012), or Hewitt’s Documentary Filmmaking: A Contemporary Field Guide (Oxford University Press, 2009 – co-authored with documentarian Gustav Vazquez). With its informative depth, the main tendency of the film – showing the reality of photojournalistic work process and following the “path” of a press photo from its creation to publication – opens a series of exciting questions faced by two ‘JOHN CORNER IS CONVINCED THAT DOCUMENTARY VISIONS ARE MOVING DECISIVELY TOWARDS LIGHTER TOPICS.’ “endangered” forms of contemporary visual and audiovisual production: photojournalism and documentary film. We have used quotation marks for the expression “endangered” because we believe there to be a paradox in the prophecies (or even realisations) that again and again predict (or detect) the exhaustion, crisis or obsoleteness if not the end or death of the present
  • 16. forms of image creation, due to technological, social, cultural, economic or political reasons. But the opposite perspective based on the findings of authors who argue that every (audio)visual creation is “incomplete” and “unfinished” – from André Bazin and Roland Barthes on the side of theoreticians, to Santiago Álvarez and Abbas Kiarostami on the side of the filmmakers Photograph by Diaz Elian—AP (if we focus only on cinema) – proves the inadequacy of such “realisations”. The beliefs of the opponents of the finality theses can thus be encapsulated in the presupposition that every new technological breakthrough generates a situation in which the visual approach begins to question itself in accordance with the new operating conditions, consequently revitalising and thereby
  • 17. ANA LY S IS Photograph by Tara Todras-Whitehill—AP practically “reinventing” itself. Such processes, of course, do not take place in a social vacuum, but always leave a deep mark in the sociocultural and also politico-economic relations or even influence changes. In the present context, every crucial, “major event” exploited by the media has spurred heated discussions on the decline, exhaustion or less privileged position of photojournalism in comparison to the new technologies and media. Thus, for example, Guenther Cartwright, recounts how the question “Is photojournalism dead?” or the slogan “Photojournalism is dead!” has found its way into newspaper headlines in practically every decade; that is, every time a new form of information technology boomed: television, cable programmes, world wide web, etc. But not even the most direct “live” visual reporting ever definitively endangered photographic images, although it definitely forced the print and (later) online media systems to rethink and consolidate themselves. At the level of cinematic documentariness, perhaps the most pressing is the intervention of John Corner, who with his theorem of post-documentary culture declared the end of the established conception of documentariness at the turn of the millennium. Corner is convinced that documentary visions are moving decisively towards lighter topics of “popular factual entertainment”, whereby the emphasis on their “classical” norms – according to which they are supposed to function as a ”project of democratic civil rights“, as “journalistic investigation and interpretation“, as “radical research and exposition of alternative perspectives” – has fatefully shifted towards adapting to the demands of “entertainment”. This is supposed to have a crucial influence on the degradation of the status of a specific “documentary authority”, the relativisation of the role of “social actors” and the “epistemological and emotional participation” of the audience. The final consequence of such changes is supposed to lead to the exhaustion of the current or traditional documentary paradigm, which is basically supposed to represent something that belongs to the “project of political and cultural modernism”. It is needless to say
  • 18. Photograph by Khalil Hamra—AP that practical experience again and again disproves such prophesies, superiorly illustrated in the context of photography by the doyen of photojournalism, John G. Morris, in his 1998 autobiography Get the Picture: “If there is a crisis in world photojournalism today, it is a crisis of editing and publishing, not of photography.” Kobré and Hewitt do not problematise the mentioned questions directly; it is the selection of creative approaches itself that points to them in the “background”. The inaugural moment of the film, which ‘IT’S THROUGH THEIR PICTURES THAT READERS AND VIEWERS CAN SEE – AND TRULY UNDERSTAND – WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE WORLD AROUND US.’ ―KEN KOBRÉ premiered at Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, DC) and is also available online, already foregrounds the equally Photograph by Richard Drew—AP pressing “existential” question of a documentary as a cinema or television format, as internet content or artistic “artefact”, whose autochthonous “exhibition” venue lies in galleries and museums of modern art. This exceedingly important dilemma of visual art forms and their uses is particularly relevant today – in a situation tossed by the constant bursts of “technological storms”, which in the audiovisual field can scarcely be adequately followed. It is precisely the last decade that has been witness to intense processes in which the area of showing and consuming moving images has been shifting from the established media environment to the practically unlimited virtual reality of the World Wide Web, on the one hand, and the “consecrated” spaces dedicated to “contemporary art”, on the other. Consequently, this leads to new reflections on the fundamental principles of moving images, where the cinematic aspect is only one form of the continuation of film by “other means” and where the possibility of being in the “film world” without actually having to go to the “cinema” is of essential
  • 19. AN A LY S IS importance. Not only new technologies and digitalisation, but also the “artefactisation” of film, which, by entering the area of art galleries and museums, has finally received the status of an art object/event, bespeak the far-reaching nature of the mentioned beliefs that film will yet have to be invented. It is precisely this scope of self-reflection and reinvention that Deadline belongs to with its thematic, formal and methodologi- ‘FOR ME, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN A PHOTO IS THE STORY THROUGH WHICH I ACQUAINT PEOPLE WITH WHAT IS HAPPENING AND OFFER THE READER AND VIEWER A NEW SIDE OF UNDERSTANDING.’ ―ED OU cal emphases. We want to point out three tendencies that Deadline advocates: the tendency to cinematically capture the decisive moment of the transformation of profilmic events into a photographic image ; the tendency to convey a story that affirms the actuality and the moment of the creation of a photo already taken; the tendency to argue the construction of meaning of the featured photo. As the additional, fourth aspect, let us point out the question of the “feedback” that the image that has already been “exploited” by the media establishes in the process of its making. For a better understanding, we will first analyse the film’s structure: at the basic level, it is composed of five episodes (ranging from “news”, “humanitarian disasters”, “sports spectacles”, “pilgrimage rituals” to “struggles and conflicts”), in addition to the prologue and epilogue. Within the episodes, we encounter
  • 20. Photograph by Tara Todras-Whitehill—AP eighteen “assignments” of twelve photojournalists in eight countries of the world. Their assignments are either contemporaneous, so that the filmmaker’s camera is at the scene of the photographing, or past and we watch a sort of a “photoreportage” in which the photographers explain the story of how the images that have already played their role in the media were made. In rare “interjections”, we see the interventions of AP editors, who explain some of the main points of their photographers’ work. If on the basis of the above outline we “dissect” the film according to its individual chapters, i.e., episodes, which cover particular photojournalistic assignments, then our structural scheme would look sort of like this: The first tendency – the one of capturing the moment and the specificity of a photo being taken – marks the
  • 21. Photograph by Stane Jeršič—BAST ‘THERE IS THIS MOTTO THAT SAYS THAT AS AN INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST YOU SHOULDN’T ACT, YOU SHOULDN’T GET INVOLVED, YOU ARE A FLY ON THE WALL.’ ―LEFTERIS PITARAKIS prologue (Tara Todras-Whitehill reporting on the Palestinian demonstrations in Ramallah) and the majority of “assignments” in the film: Pitarakis’s waiting for the British Prime Minister to leave his residency; Drew’s coverage of the happening at the New York Stock Exchange; Sanchez’s search for the most adamant opponents of the ban on same-sex marriages in front of the San Francisco court; Pitarakis’s
  • 22. A N A LYSIS coverage of the demonstrations outside the Iranian embassy in London; Carlson’s breaking through to the heart of the fires in California; Rebour’s racing with cyclists at the Tour de France; Julie Jacobsen’s search for the most dramatic moments of an NBA game; Chiu’s coverage of President Obama’s wax doll on its way to the San Francisco Wax Museum; Lennihan’s fascination over the field of solar cells on the roof of the Rockefeller Center; Matthews’s portrayal of an interviewee on a TV show; Hamra’s re-experience of the carefree moments of youngsters on a beach in blocked Gaza; Todras-Whitehill’s attempts at a real perspective of capturing the Catholic Easter pilgrimage in Jerusalem and its continuation in the “Holy Fire” ceremony of Ethiopian Christians; Balilty’s prediction of the reaction of Israeli police in its conflict with Palestinian demonstrators; and Tara Todras-Whitehill’s participation in the funeral of a killed Palestinian civilian. The second tendency – the of explaining the conception of the photos, without the presence of the film camera – can be seen in Drew’s description of how the photos of “people falling into the abyss of death” from the burning WCT tower and the collapse of the “twins” on 9/11 were made; in Pitarakis’s memory of a Kurd protester’s self-immolation and his explanation of how he photographed a suicide attack on Benazir Buto (and was himself wounded in the process); in Jacobson’s description of photographing the catastrophic aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti; in (her) account of patrolling with marines in Afghanistan; in Balilty’s analysis of how he took the photo of a protestor on the West Bank flying into the wall of a shielded police cordon; in Hamra’s description of the shocking consequences of an unexpected bombing of Gaza; and in Pitarakis’s intervention in the epilogue about the photographers breaking the “principle of non-interference” (which we focus on in more detail below). The third tendency – the one of the determination of meaning – is present in practically all “explanations”. In them, the reporters not only disclose the circumstances of the event or relate the “stories” of individual shots – after all, it is the photo itself that best tells its own story – but often provide (either indirectly or quite openly) also their fundamental individual stance to their work and the world. In these emphases, two completely opposite viewpoints become crystallized: the attitude of as great an indifference as possible and the attitude of direct emotional involvement. The first is encapsulated in Balilty’s explanation: “I would never put my personal feelings into the picture. I put it all aside and concentrate only on the images and on the light to tell the story and to put as much information as I can put in the image – that’s how I work.” Or Drew’s remark that, while recording the events of 9/11, he simply switched to “autopilot”. On the other hand, Julie Jacobsen
  • 23. AN A LY S IS talks about emotional involvement, stressing that a photojournalist’s personal emotional reaction is always channelled into the photos. Sanchez and Hamra’s testimonies also bespeak this; when describing the event of taking a photo, they cannot (or will not?) hide the tears in their eyes, which despite seeing the innumerable chilling scenes of life are still capable of crying.The last tendency – the one of reflecting the feedback between the photographed traumatic event Photograph by Stane Jeršič—BAST and the reaction the photo has already evoked in public – can be seen especially in the photo of the mortally wounded Lance Corporal Joshua Bernard in Afghanistan; in Balilty’s image of the protestor in front of a police human shield (which won the Pulitzer Award); and in Pitarakis’s epilogue sequence on reporters interfering in the happening. The first image provoked an extraordinary response in the US, since even the Secretary of Defense at the time, Robert Gates, argued for its removal from the public eye. But the editorial decision for its publication insisted that the photo showed the moment of a soldier’s death in “a very public war; the young man was fighting on behalf of the government” which is why it is of the utmost importance that “our viewers and audience see what was happening and see the very real cause of the war, and this young marine’s ultimate sacrifice”.Rancièr’s reflection, whose fundamental tendency aims at the pressing issue of the possibility or the right to show unbearable, intolerable, unimaginable or unacceptable images (especially images of atrocities that people are capable of inflicting upon each other), thus – also in the present constellation – radicalises some of the essential problems that Kobré and Hewitt confront us with. At the core of the problematic, there thus remains unresolved (and perhaps irresolvable) the highlighted ambiguity that journalists encounter in the filed practically every day. ‘IN DIRECT CINEMA, IF YOU LIKE, THE FILMED EVENT DOES NOT PRE-EXIST THE FILM OR THE SHOOT BUT , IS PRODUCED BY THEM. ’ ―JEAN-LOUIS COMOLLI Their actions are always conditioned by their individual commitment, which is, in turn, subject to the fundamental integrity of their perception of the world. Despite
  • 24. Photograph by Tara Todras-Whitehill—AP a certain “subjection” to the media system, their work does not serve as a mere addition to the written news, it is not an illustration, a link in the narrative chain, but is always a sovereign, autonomous story of an individual experience. This is why it is of the utmost importance for the photographer to assume the right stand, in order to capture the binding Benjaminian “spark of contingency“ of the here and now with which reality has seared the nature of the image, enabling it to enter the cycle of history. This is also what, in the exchange of images, views and thoughts, can/does lead to a reaction – individual responsibility of each person that creates, uses, accepts and reflects them: responsibility in the world and to the world. ANDREJ ŠPRAH, PhD (Media Studies), is a film theoretician, writer and author of numerous essays and discussion in which he explores the phenomena of contemporary documentarism and socially engaged cinema. His monographs include the study “Utrujen od podobe svojega pogleda” in Pogib in počas (1997), reference monograph Dokumentarni film in oblast (1998), a collection of essays on post-independence Slovenian films Osvobajanje pogleda (2004), a book on contemporary documentary film Prizorišče odpora (2010) and the discussion Vračanje realnosti (2011), which examines the questions of new realism in world cinema. His contributions are published mostly in KINO!, Ekran, Kinotečnik and Časopis za kritiko znanosti.
  • 25. Photograph by Lefteris Pitarakis—AP
  • 26. Briefing Understanding Reality Together with the words that describe them, these images form the basis for understanding reality. Mateja Rek Images of the world “beyond us”, a world that is not part of our immediate perception, have become an integral part of our lives. They are selected for and served to us by the mass media. They are provided every day and accessible practically incessantly, with their topicality, urgency and newness being of crucial importance. The photos and footage offered to the viewer or reader as part of a journalistic story in describing a certain event importantly condition the perception of this event, its informative value and interpretation, be it a sports or a cultural event in one’s environment or a conflict in a maelstrom of war somewhere at the other end of the world. Together with the words that describe them, these images form the basis for understanding reality, the world around us, and in the long term function as the organising principle of our collective memory. We can even say that we live in a “mediated” society since many of our ideas, knowledge and, probably most importantly, values do not proceed merely from our everyday, direct experiences. Our understanding of the world is to a significant extent shaped by contemporary media that offer a “packaged” version of events and topics, which we consume as part of our everyday. We can consume them at home, in the comfort of our living-room sofa or in a safe and warm office in front of a high-tech computer screen. But rarely do we think about the path that the photos and the footage make from the actual event (be it battles in the turbulent and dangerous Afghanistan, conflicts in Palestine or a basketball game in New York) to our or the viewer’s reflection Photograph by Barbara Jakše Jeršič—BAST or knowledge on this event. Deadline Every Second foregrounds precisely the creators of such images – photographers and journalists – who with their presence at the scene of these events in their unique way represent the “eyes” of the media audience. Their choice of the person, event, gesture, expression, emotion, etc., that they devote attention to (and thereby leave out the others) in the given circumstances importantly determines what the viewer or reader of a mass medium finds out and how this event and thereby the reality of the current time is interpreted. Photographers and journalists thus play an
  • 27. Briefing important and responsible role in the contemporary world and with their work create the weltanshaung of millions of people all over the world. With globalisation, their reach has become even wider and, at least potentially, they can have an influence on the formation of global awareness and perhaps even collective memory, although, despite globalisation, local social circumstances and cultures still play an exceptionally important role in ‘THE JOURNALISTS CHOOSE, SELECT , FORM AND PASS ON INFORMATION AND OPINIONS ON CURRENT EVENTS/PHENOMENA VIA MASS MEDIA.’ ―MATEJA REK interpreting reality. Despite the fascinating nature of the journalistic profession and the fact that the stories about the reporters in the field can have much media appeal, the journalists themselves are rarely at the centre of media reports. The general public most often knows their work, the results, the stories of “others for others”, which they disseminate, while they find out very little about them and the work that led to these stories. This is why the production and popularisation of films such as Deadline Every Second is an important contribution to raising the public’s “literacy” about media reality and represents a sort of homage to the creators of media images. At the same time, it reminds us of the meaning of responsibility and ethics in journalistic work, which remain significant challenges of journalism regardless of the circumstances, which can range from the logic of capital and the pressures of political elites to the dimension of time, as Deadline Every Second nicely illustrates. What is important is the presence, to be at the right place at the right time, not prematurely and not too late.
  • 28. Photograph by Barbara Jakše Jeršič—BAST It is important to immediately and quickly disseminate and “serve” the acquired images and information to the reader. But we must be aware that, with their presence, the journalists can also determine the importance of a certain event since their absence can mean that without the media coverage the event will remain unknown and therefore insignificant. The journalists choose, select, form and pass on information and opinions on current events/phenomena via mass media. But we must not forget that no medium is capable of conveying the truth about reality. It is always an interpretation of reality, which depends on the editors’ concept of the mass medium, their instructions, the journalist’s perception and skill, all of it being part of the broader social context, whose zeitgeist gives the undertone and ascribes meaning to events about which the journalists tell us their stories either with words or images.
  • 29. Photograph by Stane Jeršič—BAST
  • 30. IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON, YOU MIGHT AS WELL NOT BE THERE ― SANTIAGO LYON—AP
  • 31. IMAGES “ BEYOND US ” ― MATEJA REK Photograph by Barbara Jakše Jeršič—BAST
  • 32. Photograph by Oded Balilty—AP
  • 33. Project is supported by: REPUBLIC OF S LOVENIA MINISTRY OF CULTURE
  • 34. Project is supported by: REPUBLIC OF S LOVENIA MINISTRY OF CULTURE