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Doug Clifford from Ace Camera Index

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  Politically Correct Photography:
What do you think?

A letter to the editor of the Seattle Times caught my eye last month:

"As a cyclist, I am very disappointed by the selection of photographs in your Feb. 12 "Getaways" section.

"In a time when more and more individuals realize the value of their health and thus strap on helmets prior to mounting their bicycles, the photo of the bare-headed riders on a city street was highly irresponsible. It is particularly upsetting to see this reckless approach publicized in an article intended to promote cycling opportunities....

"The photo of the pack of cyclists riding several abreast on busy Westlake Avenue serves to reinforce the notion held by cynical drivers that cyclists ride obnoxiously. A photograph of recreational and commuting cyclists riding single-file would have been much more appropriate and could have been easily obtained.

"….safe and courteous riders…would have been much better served by a different selection of photographs."

Chuck P., Seattle
(the above letter excerpted from the Seattle Times, February 28,1998 and reproduced here for editorial comment.)

So what do you think?
Should newspapers be leading by example and suggesting how we should behave? Is it the responsibility of newspapers and newspaper photographers to shape the news and accompanying images any more than they already do? Share your thoughts!

Doug Clifford

(Doug Clifford is the webmaster for the ACE Indexes, an annotated directory of North American photo commerce web sites, expanding soon to include Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia.)

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