A recent two-part post on Errol Morris’ blog for the Times examines the use (and abuse) and necessity (or not) of photo captioning and the ways that captions can frame reception. The idea of framing evidence relates most specifically to our first project of the semester where students were asked to follow a recent “true crime” case through four venues of coverage: local news, national news — both preferably print vs. online or television; national magazine, blog, or true crime novel; and television news magazine or documentary. The task was to note how the changing demands of the venue created different “truths” to the story as well as observing how the same or similar evidence was changed and changed the narrative of the “true” story depending on the perspective and/or format of the venue. Morris’ conversation with photojournalist Ben Curtis is very illustrative (if you’ll pardon the pun) of similar kinds of framing and publishing constraints that alter the supposedly static content of a photograph.
Check it out: