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Intentional Ambiguity

Intentional Ambiguity

(p.59) 5 Intentional Ambiguity
Death Makes the News
Jessica M. Fishman
NYU Press

Photojournalism has the ability to lay the facts bare, and, normally, the profession’s goal is to accurately and robustly document facts. However, when covering a fatal event, photojournalism literally covers the key facts. The evidence is intentionally erased as editors employ postproduction techniques using software, like Photoshop, that allows them to enlarge pixels until they make the subject undecipherable. Opacity is purposely substituted for clarity as editors censor the factually rich relay initially provided by the original document. This chapter shows that when reporting on death, photojournalism seeks indistinctness, with the goal of critically obscuring, if not completely hiding, the postmortem subject. Through this process, photojournalists and their editors repeatedly disallow the very images they are believed to relish.

Keywords:   facts, evidence, photojournalism, Photoshop, postproduction techniques

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