6 years ago: Who’s the kid?

Feb. 8, 2007, on this blog: Who’s the kid?

My problem here is with the photos. Specifically, it’s with the captions for those photos: The top photo here pictures two people, the bottom one pictures nine. But only two of these 11 people are identified by name.

The copy editors did their best to write around the missing information, and the paper’s diligent online copy editor (ahem) tried to mitigate the problem by inserting “(right, …)” and “(center, …)” to clarify which person in each photo is the one named in the caption. That may not seem to matter much, since readers of the print edition, in which those parenthetical identifiers are absent, probably won’t be confused as to whom the captions refer. Those readers have seen hundred of photos like this and they’re accustomed to the American convention of only regarding white people from the first world as worthy of identification.

  • http://twitter.com/Zornorph Zornorph

    I don’t see this the same way. Honestly, when you are in a poor country and you go to take a picture, children cluster around because they all want to be in the picture. Trying to get their names and then remembering who is who by the time you go to caption the picture would seem to be impossible. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    That’s why the person with the camera carries a notebook and writing implement.

  • banancat

    Zornorph, if you look through the article you will see the pictures in question.  The first one is one man and one child.  The child was not named, presumably because he’s just a poor charity case.  In the second picture there was at least one other adult, who  appears to also be engaging with kids.  She was also not named.

  • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

    Actually, the professional photographers I’ve seen recently have digital cameras which can also do video and audio recording. So they put it in picture mode and take a photo, then switch to audio mode and speak in the caption.

    TRiG.

  • http://reasondecrystallized.blogspot.com/ extremities

    I’ve worked in humanitarian aid, and while there is something to what you are saying here, there are also issues of legality, ethics, and consent that get raised with identifying children by name.  I worked specifically in Eastern European orphanages, and often times we did not have legal permission from their erstwhile guardians to name them. There were also repeated accusations that foreigners were posting photos to advertise the children as being for sale, and we had actually known homes that had been (falsely) accused of this.  Not naming the children that we featured in our materials avoided this whole thicket of issues.

  • banancat

     And what about the issue of not naming the other adult in the picture?

  • EllieMurasaki

    Oh. Huh. The newspaper photographers I’ve seen recently, one for Occupy Myhometown lo these many moons ago and one the other week taking pictures of people walking around downtown looking cold, had paper and pencil, but the digital recorder makes better sense.

  • rizzo

    Pretty sure this is a case of ‘You can find racism everywhere when you look hard enough for it’.  Without having all the info about the circumstances, you can’t call this racist, sorry.


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