I was just about to post a comment on the International Herald Tribune's 2007 Year in Pictures when I came across this Aaron's Photoblog - http://photoblog.schaubnet.org/.
Here is a blogger into his photography and praising the power of photo journalism and he remarks he was able to only spot 'a couple' of pictures in the IHT's Special Report with that real WOW factor.
Exactly. Just a couple.
I thought the whole thing was a pretty strong indictment of the IHT's failings in the photo-journalism department. I know many people in the newspaper business who think the IHT just doesn't run good photos.
Of course they don't have their own staff photographers - they use NYT or any of the number of photo agencies - but the real problem is I think deeper. For many years, the IHT didn't even have a full-time photo-editor and it was a real mish-mash of people who made the call on what photos to use, many of them with no eye for good photo journalism.
Infamously, I recall 9/11 when, with hundreds of photo's to go with, then editor David Ignatius elected to put on the front page a grainy screen grab from a TV shot we had all already seen a hundred times before we got to 10/11.
I would agree with this photo blogger and say there are perhaps just a couple of really outstanding shots in the report which was just long enough to accommodate a double page spread advert from Nikon.
My guess is that the impetus for this special report came from advertising - and Nikon's ad agency - and the net result was a poorly conceived, poorly executed selection of photos. Were these REALLY the stand-out shots from 2007? Was someone in editorial a bit pissed-off at having to put this together at the request of an advertiser.
OK, lead paint on Thomas the Tank engine was a big story, but I don't think any of us need to see a picture of little Tom in the IHT's 2007 Year in Pictures. There are lots of good photo-journalism reviews of the year around at this time of year, and this isn't the one I will pull and keep for my scrap-book.
I don't wish to say that the photos run in the IHT haven't got a hole lot better in the last few years, but as this report shows, there is still some way to go.
And if a newspaper can't choose good photos for print, it sure ain't equipped to choose good ones for other media platforms which demand even more of them.
Question: do www.iht.com and the print edition share the same photo editors? My guess is no, but please do enlighten me.