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Featuring photos – featuring athletics
For a change of pace today in feature focus we’re going to look at photos – rather special photos, in fact. All photos in a newspaper picture important current events – that is they have news value. But some of the most dramatic, as well as newsworthy pictures, are on the sports pages.
That was especially true last week here in Asia as the SEA games were taking place in Vietnam. The sports pages were full of wonderful pictures of our athletes in their winning moments and their times of most intense concentration.
Two ways of looking
There are at least two ways you can learn from news photos. One is by focusing on the captions to see what new English words and expressions you can learn.
The second way is to think about what makes a good photograph, what the photo shows about the skill of the photographer. Being aware of those skills will make you a better photographer, too.
So, what makes a good news photograph? First, of course, it must be about an important current event, so it has newsworthiness. Let’s assume that all photos that appear in a newspaper have that – the editors have already chosen them for that quality.
Here are the other qualities that editors look for:
Action: Photos are most interesting if something is happening – if there is movement.
Expression: Photos attract attention if they show people (or animals) displaying strong emotions.
Composition: There is also “art” in good news photos. The photo editor will look at way the elements of the picture work together, their unity. This may be the way people are grouped, or lines that are formed by the elements of the picture.
Timing: This is especially important in sports photos when one second too late or too early would reduce the impact of the picture.
Lighting: Though not so important in sports photos, the way light and shadows mix in a photograph can make it more dramatic.
Look at the pictures here. What qualities do you think were most important in the editors’ decision to choose each one? Explain what it is about the photo that made you choose that quality. You may find that some of the photos are chosen for more than one quality.
Here are some ways to learn from the language in the captions.
Look at the photos on the sports pages of today’s Bangkok Post. Choose one picture that you can talk about in conversation with friends. Why do you think it is a good photo? Is it a great photo?
PHOTOS AND CAPTIONS FROM THE BANGKOK POSTAll photos by SOMCHAI POOMLARD
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Last modified: December 15, 2003