FN: Photography

The Economist’s use of photography is very practical, where photographs are used specifically as a supplement to the story. Photographs are often self-explanatory and are accompanied by captions, though the captions rarely explain what is actually happening in the photograph. If a photograph is not completely clear, you will have to read at least the hed and dek to get a sense of place and what is going on. Overall The Economist’s use of photographs is simple and pretty basic. They rarely stray from the typical small medium shot image. Photographs contain both passive and active mode so there is some variety. Larger images are used in ‘bigger’ stories or in special reports. Not every story is accompanied by a photograph, but those that do are assigned one, that appears in a rectangular shape.

There isn’t that much more to say about The Economist’s approach to photography because it is so mathematical. While I personally find photographs to be a great way to give a new perspective to a story, The Economist really treats photographs as an additional element to a story; one that is helpful, but not essential. It makes sense for the publication because it is so text heavy, so obviously its readers are very interested in reading about current events and less concerned about seeing an actual image.


An example of a larger photograph (and less serious one) in The Economist.

Picture of censored Iranian magazines

A full open page of the magazine. Each full story shown has it’s own image (one being an illustration). Both photographs are colorful and show active moments, though the one to the right (a man holding a poster) is not all that compelling or interesting to look at.



The story above talks about how domesticated birds are less intelligent than their wild counterparts. It is accompanied by a picture of a chicken along with the caption “Are you looking at me or chewing a brick?”. The captions to photos are humourous but not that informational.