Field Notes – Photography



I’ve noticed a trend in many American newspapers, if there is a need for visual storytelling – they automatically use photographs. Some use them well, but many seem to rely too heavily.


The first thing to notice about Politiken, is that they use photographs sparingly.



Sometimes they don’t use them at all.

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The fact that Politiken makes deliberate choices, means that I, as the consumer, know that if I’m seeing photographs, they are with purpose. They are not space fillers. They are content with value, not simply extras to make the page look nice. It means that when there are photographs, I am going to pay special attention.

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Here are examples of award winning photography from Politiken:

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Something noticeable is that Politiken uses photographs with great command over color and space. The top two photos are taken in places sure to have passerby’s, yet they manage to be perfect depictions without interruption.  Another thing I notice is how these photos capture a mood. The tone is unique to each photo, i’m moved by each in different ways.

Here is a Politiken a1 which utilizes photography:

Interestingly this series of head shots, which could be considered too gimmicky, manages to remain newsy. I also notice that when using photographs for the main story, Politiken tends to use illustration for the round up of departments on the top of the page. Once again, the purpose is to focus only on the important imagery. I respect these deliberate choices and I think that choosing images wisely, makes your pages stronger.

Here is another a1:

Notable for me, is the fact that the designer, or photo editor, perhaps together, decided to crop the photos on the top of the page so that the ONLY face on the page, is the important one. I also realize that many of the faces we see in Politiken are not smiling or laughing or grimacing, but just looking straight into the camera. Is this coincidence? Does this color our opinion of the man in the photograph?