Field Notes: Photography

The Los Angeles Times has between one and four photos per page, with four being on the high end (oftentimes four photos includes a photo as a part of a column, for example). Typically there are two photos on a page. The photo shapes are either rectangles or squares and are mostly in color. Some pages are in black and white, therefore the photos follow suit, but most of the paper allows for color photos. These images consist all kinds of photos: general news images, environmental portraits, feature photos, unusual perspectives, moments and more. There’s not pattern as to whether subjects are active are passive. The content seems to drive the photo choice, as there are a variety of both types throughout the paper. The photos are also a variety of wide, medium and tight. Depending on the story, all three distances are used. Here’s a snapshot of these elements:

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Images are not superimposed onto one another anywhere and type doesn’t overlap onto a photo. They follow a rather modular structure, meaning all of the photos are separated by a set distance and take up a finite number of columns. In looking through multiple issues, I’ve only seen two photos accompany one story a couple of times. Each story includes one photo, on average, and though most stories include at least one photo, not every one does. Stories where content is able to be photographed features photos whereas stories that aren’t as photo-worthy or easily photographed are text-only. In looking through multiple issues, the Los Angeles Times photographic choices and styles continue to reflect its traditional style—photos are rectangular and placed rather modestly. This is an example of a typical page.

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