just before i responded to shock’s request for images on earthquakes i wanted to see previous posts that they had made. no record of them. all gone. after i posted my reply i decided to copy the whole discussion in the fear that the same would happen (which it has) so below i am re-posting it.
i can understand why, i am assuming the people who make these idiotic requests, delete them. perhaps they are shocked into some kind of shame when they realise that their pay checks are based upon the profit of those who have lost everything, those who have died desperate and painful deaths, those who lived in societies that one day existed and the next where buried under a heap of twisted metal and pulverised concrete. assuming that shock will regrettably stay in business and keep making requests i think it’s only fair to paste their post so as to know the history of the things they ask for.
for a while i thought i’d just brush off their request, thinking that it didn’t merit a response, but thinking about the request led me to think about why i had traveled across the planet to one of the most inhospitable regions on the earth. having gone to those lengths i feel doubly protective about my images and about how this disaster is portrayed as a piece of history. it is important that it is portrayed as the tragedy it was and not, as shock would have it, as a bizarre event which would imply that earthquakes happen for unexplainable reasons and therefor leave us confounded and scratching our heads. to think such a way puts us in danger for the future because if we are to believe that they are merely bizarre manifestations then why build safer structures for the future? why build on a safer piece of land? no, there is nothing bizarre about them and to put this kind of misinformation out to the public does put it at risk.
why i went: i went to kashmir first with medecins sans frontieres as winter was approaching. with 70,000 already dead and the winter grimly approaching i believed it was important, essential that images got out so that people who had the means to help could do so. without aid the potential for hundreds of thousands of lives where at stake because winters in kashmir are notoriously harsh. thankfully by helping to get the word out through the tireless efforts of msf, unicef, acf, oxfam etc. and the news papers and magazines who weren’t too fatigued to publish such stories lives where saved. (remember this was just after new orleans and was in the same year as the tsunami—another disaster in some remote part of the world was just too much for many and so coverage was, for the most part trivial at best.) 3 weeks after my initial reportage i returned for le monde2 and was amazed to see conditions, while abjectly miserable, where not life threatening on the scale that they previously had been. tents had arrived, food was being distributed—in short the people of kashmir would make it through the winter.
on these two trips i’m glad to know that my pictures helped contribute, if only in a small way, to the health of a people who where so desperate for aid. why i have reacted so strongly to shock’s post is because i deplore coverage (i wouldn’t call it reportage) that trivializes everything so that instead of one coming away from an article more informed readers are apathetic, actually less informed than before having been given such poor information. if you believe that a responsible media is important than players such as shock who dabble in events of great importance need to be questioned. if all they ran where pictures of people missing trampolines when they jumped on them—yes it is a feature—who cares? but to discuss events of importance gives them a higher burden of responsibility which i believe they have neglected.
on a personal level i feel a responsibility to those whom i have photographed. i can guarantee you that the fathers who held their daughters with fractured legs and ribs in mass hospital tents, sisters who carried injured younger brothers through collapsed suddenly non existent cities and the boy who dug through the rubble 3 meters deep, rock by rock with his cut hands, his only guide his nose which lead him to the decomposing body did not find the earthquake in the words of shock’s post bizarre, acceptable or awe inspiring. in this case thoughtless, heartless coverage is worse than none at all. i would never let the subjects who trusted me and let me into their lives be treated so insultingly and trivially on the pages of a shock. (in full disclosure i learned that my agency submitted two pictures to shock. the submissions have since been rescinded.)
in the broader context of things shock represents the flaccid state of journalism overall. on its website shock makes a big deal about how they have, in their first issue, published what they depict as being the realities of war. while i wouldn’t say they did a terribly thoughtful job of it, it is true that is a venue where a person can get a glimpse of the idiotic policies that this white house has set forth and our press so benignly covered. (while shock’s editor states that “shockâ€™s mission is to utilize the most riveting photos in the world to inform, entertain and, on a good day, spark a little debate,” he fails to realize that it’s hard to inform a readership on the horrors of war while that coverage has to compete with such headlines as these taken from shocks website today: Lady and the Trampoline: This has to be one of the cruelest and most painful nut shots we have ever seen, Pole Position: You might not realize it, but pole dancing actually requires a level of skill, Two-Legged Friend Behold: the bizarre and freakish walk of the two-legged dog!, Hitting the Wall: Sometimes you have to blow things up if you want to learn anything. i wonder how the families of those who died in the war feel about having to compete with that last headline.) shock talks as if it where the new LIFE magazine. but, with LIFE relegated to a sunday supplement and no other publishing company giving a shit to take its place i guess we really are left only with shock to bring us images of this miserable war the united states so ignorantly blundered into. perhaps if the white house press corps and the media at large who where so gung ho on a war that they thought would be so easy cared to know something before things where blown up events in the middle east wouldn’t be blowing up on such as scale as they currently are.
if this isn’t a comment about the current sate of media, particularly in the united states, i don’t know what its.
below is the post that was deleted:
Earthquake photos wanted
26 Jul 2006 00:07
Looking for extreme images of earthquakes. Shocking photos.
Extreme images of damage and destruction, Bizarre, awe inspiring.
Death is not what I am looking for but if the images is extremely dramatic it will be
considered. ANY earthquake is acceptable. Historic as well as current. These images are
for publication so credit information and the ability to receive high res images somewhat
quickly is necessary. Please email lightbox or low res images to firstname.lastname@example.org or
by Daniella Jo Nilva Mon Jul 24 17:53:15 UTC 2006 (ed. 26-07-06) | New York, United States |
for what publication and what are your rates?
Edit Delete by Jake Price Tue Jul 25 14:44:33 UTC 2006 | nyc, the greatest rotten apple, United States |
Isnt this Shock magazine? I think so.
by Jon Anderson Tue Jul 25 15:10:27 UTC 2006 | a casa, Dominican Republic |
yes, jon, it is. i received a private message to my yahoo address not from jo nilva but from another editor there, cherie cincilla, who not long ago was looking for images of people gored by bulls in spain. no doubt compassionate gorings but must be shocking. marvelous theyâ€™re moving onto earthquakes.
if only shock existed when i was in kashmir when i covered the earthquake that buried at least 70,000 lives. when i was covering kashmirâ€™s loss these thoughts where foremost on my mind: â€œisnâ€™t this loss of life bizzare and and awe inspiring? …but who will publish these images? who will give this event the dignity that it deserves? where can i find my next image that not only says damage but destruction too? where can i find that special editor who will say, â€˜Death is not what I am looking for but if the images is extremely dramatic it will be considered.â€™â€ ….if the images is extremely dramatic it will be considered, those words stick with me to this day. and now i have found you, wonderful editors of shock! thank you shock, thank you cherie, thank you daniella. thank you for making ANY earthquake acceptable.
oh, yes, about those rates that so honour the dead, maimed and despairing. should any lightstalkers have one of these fine pictures you will be paid according to these ratesâ€”they where sent to me privately by the lovely cherie, but since this is a public post (havenâ€™t we been over this before regarding private posts to public postings?)i thought iâ€™d post them for the rest of the community to see as well
Shock magazine USA
3/4 SPD â€“ $750
Full Page $500
1/2 Page $300
1/4 Page $200
Cover = 2X spot rates
[a former member]
2006-07-28 18:17:42 UTC
Mar 12 2008
nyc, the greatest rotten apple