RED LINE

Geist - - In Camera - —An­n­marie Mackin­non

This im­age is part of the pho­to­graphic archives of the Globe and Mail news­pa­per—a col­lec­tion of 20,000 im­ages re­cently do­nated to the Cana­dian Pho­tog­ra­phy In­sti­tute at the Na­tional Gallery of Canada.

The red lines on the photograph were made with grease pen­cil and de­note how the im­age was to be cropped for pub­li­ca­tion. It was also com­mon prac­tice to dodge or burn (re­duce or in­crease ex­po­sure to pro­duce lighter or darker sec­tions), and mask (se­lec­tively block por­tions of an im­age dur­ing pro­cess­ing) or oth­er­wise al­ter the pho­to­graphs, just as we do dig­i­tally to­day. But the dig­i­tal his­tory of a photo is much harder to dis­play. Our abil­ity to see the phys­i­cal mark­ings, the high­lighted and al­tered por­tions of tra­di­tional pho­to­graphs, gives us clues as to the edi­tor’s vi­sion and mo­ti­va­tions. Crops and al­ter­ations were not made sim­ply to im­prove im­age qual­ity for print­ing; they were also used to con­tex­tu­al­ize or em­pha­size the edi­to­rial po­si­tion of the ac­com­pa­ny­ing story or of the pa­per it­self. Now they show us how an edi­tor can ma­nip­u­late im­ages to serve a nar­ra­tive—to con­vey a sense of drama, to em­pha­size a po­lit­i­cal po­si­tion, to ex­press the so­cial and moral con­ven­tions of the time. Or, as is likely in the case of the photo here, to evoke emo­tion. Taken as a col­lec­tion, the archives of­fer us a vis­ual rep­re­sen­ta­tion of how jour­nal­ism evolves over time.

The man and the boy in the photograph dis­played here are iden­ti­fied as “Dave John Bryant and son in Toronto for peace demon­stra­tion 1961” on the back of the photo.

See this im­age and others at Cut­line: The Pho­tog­ra­phy Archives of The Globe and Mail, which runs from Oc­to­ber 14, 2016, to Fe­bru­ary 12, 2017, at the Na­tional Gallery of Canada

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