When talking about photo bias, we’re usually dealing with breaking news images that are lacking context, misleadingly framed, cynically staged, spuriously cropped, carelessly recycled, or dubiously photoshopped. Sometimes, editors make poor decisions on how to illustrate a story.
We at Honest Reporting have also seen muddled photo essays resulting from computer glitches. We even did a case study on a series of wire photos of a border clash that raised glaring questions of who the photographers were and how they got shots of the action so close-up and quick.
This brings us to Vogue, a monthly magazine best known for glamour shots of beautiful people wearing beautiful clothes in beautiful settings — because its star photographers know how to create beautiful images of their subjects.
Vogue’s Mideast edition, Vogue Arabia, recently published a letter by Ahed Tamimi, who just finished a term in prison for slapping an Israeli soldier in front of cameras. Think about that. Tamimi was trying to provoke a reaction while her mother filmed the incident.
Vogue Arabia sent one of its photographers to shoot a glamorous photo of the 17-year-old. In it, she looks awfully nice for a girl just out of prison. I’m going to talk about how “the sausage” of the photo was made, and then I’ll talk about its effects.
I don’t know the specifics of Tamimi’s photo shoot with photographer Nina Wessel. And I’m not criticizing Wessel for doing her job as a professional photographer. But these five points explain what a glamour photographer’s actual job is — to construct a fantasy in photographic form.