It wasn’t actually taken during President Barack Obama‘s historic speech Sunday night.
Instead, it was shot during a brief reenactment — for the benefit of print photographers — immediately afterward, writes Jason Reed of Reuters.
As President Obama continued his nine-minute address in front of just one main network camera, the photographers were held outside the room by staff and asked to remain completely silent. Once Obama was off the air, we were escorted in front of that teleprompter and the President then re-enacted the walk-out and first 30 seconds of the statement for us.
After running back to send our pictures â€“ tight crops, loose crops, walking towards us and away from us, side angles and such, as many versions of 30 seconds of picture-taking as I could think of, it was time to see what was going on outside.
Now, I tell you this because it’s interesting… in a Hey, I didn’t know they did it like that sort of way. And because I’ve always been told that modern photojournalism doesn’t roll like that.
It’s also mildly interesting because it’s the second oddity that’s popped up in two days. The other being that photo about which I blogged earlier today, of the president’s national security advisers watching the attack on Osama bin Laden going down on Sunday.
The picture — taken by White House phtog Pete Souza — was altered with a little judicious blurring before it was distributed to the media. Specifically, the papers in front of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
I must admit, though, I must be way behind on photo ethics these days. I preach to the designers, editors and artists I teach to be very careful about what they do with Photoshop. But then stuff like this — which certainly seems to violate every photo ethics standard I thought existed — goes on to win huge awards.
So enlighten me, please. Anyone.
And thanks to the awesome David FarrÃ© of the Burlington Free Press for tweeting tonight about the reenactment.
UPDATE: 2:20 p.m. Wednesday
A team from Poynter reviewed newspapers that used a photo of Obama on page one Monday. Nine mentioned in their cutlines the picture was taken after the actual speech. Two used language that said this is the president “after” the speech.
Thirty other front pages we reviewed used an AP, Reuters or Getty photo, credited appropriately, with a caption that implied or strongly suggested it was an image of the live address.
The remaining nine front pages donâ€™t say where the photos came from; although several look like the re-enactments, they could be screen captures from the live address.
It is time for this kind of re-enactment to end. The White House should value truth and authenticity. The technology clearly exists to document important moments without interrupting them. Photojournalists and their employers should insist on and press for access to document these historic moments.
He also graciously thanks this blog for the inspiration for his report. In turn, I must pass along credit to David FarrÃ© of the Burlington Free Press. If he hadn’t tweeted it last night, I’d have never known about it.