At a loss to understand why ‘fake news’ is considered ‘new’ news. Everybody has being lying to everybody else since we crawled out of the primordial swamp. To be more precise, believing their own perceptions of reality; packaging and promoting it – for personal gain. This Guardian commercial from a London ad agency in 1986 not only sums up why advertising became a noble profession (through the sheer creativity of simple observation – sadly gone) but also through the fallibility of what people believe and why they believe it. Today’s journos take note. Examine all issues from all angles, then decide. The power of discernment. Thank you for your 3 and half ‘Likes’.
It’s been a little over two weeks since that dreadful day when bombs ripped through the check-in area of Zaventem airport and Maalbeek metro station. The world’s media has long since moved on to cover other atrocities that have, sadly, become a daily occurrence in our news saturated societies. The morning after the attacks, I went to the Place de la Bourse in the centre of Brussels where people had begun laying memorials and tributes to the dead and injured. The world’s press were there in force; almost outnumbering the mourners busily showing their respects with flowers, flags, candles and chalk markings. All poignant moments were pounced upon as news cameras and microphones were shoved, indelicately, toward any display of human emotion for instantaneous consumption by a wired audience worldwide. It felt like a ‘media circus’. It felt sordid. It felt disrespectful. Amidst all the people and paraphernalia of solidarity with the victims, I started taking photographs myself; questioning my motives with each click of the camera shutter. Was I also being disrespectful by taking pictures? The images below are a selection of the photographs I took that day. Hopefully, I have captured the dignity of the day without resorting to journalistic hyperbole. It was quite moving to be among the mourners. Brussels has been my adopted home for nearly 30 years. I felt a sadness and solidarity with my fellow mourners profoundly. The Belgians, of all classes and creeds, are civilised and peaceful; they, of all people, did not deserve such an indiscriminate destruction of life. Thankfully, peace and calm is slowly returning to this vibrant and cosmopolitan city. My deepest condolences to family, friends and colleagues of the dead and injured. All images © Sean Hayes.
I’m coming late to this story; but it’s a story worth shouting from the rooftops: journalistic photography is dying. Dying from indifference. The genius of the iconic French newspaper, Libération, to print a daily edition entirely without accompanying editorial photographs is a powerful reminder of the importance of photography in helping us understand and interpret the world around us. The blank spaces make us feel uncomfortable – and so they should. A portent of things to come if the media industry keeps up its relentless crusade to make everything ‘cost-effective’ at the expense of effective journalism. Kudos to Libération for breaking rank and highlighting this insidious undermining of this most precious of professions. Please click on the link below for the full story.