Field Notes: The Los Angeles Times_Photography

The Los Angeles Times uses photography with a strong sense of uniformity. All pictures seen in the Los Angeles Time are either square or rectangular shaped. If your looking for special transposed/superimposed photos of all kinds of shapes and creative sizes, then the LA Times may not be the paper to read.

The LA Times does, however, like to frequently use pictures of people. Perhaps because they really view themselves as a publication that actively reports in the interest of it’s readers. A lot a people pictures are unknowns (not celebrities or public figures).The paper showcases a variety of ethnicities as well.

Most of the time these people photographs are passive. Subjects are sitting looking into the camera, looking off into the distance, or having a conversation with another individual(s). It can also be noted that the LA Times loves a good close-up. And you will see plenty of them. The drama of the close-up really defines the publication in that it likes to get  “up close and personal” with its news and the subjects it covers.

As in other field notes, I’ve mentioned that the Sports Section of the Times tends to vary slightly from the rest of the publication. In this instance with photography, sports pictures active. They’ll show athletes jumping to make a basket or swinging the bat at home plate.

Distraction from the strength of their photography is definitely not an option fro the LA Times. You will never see type written on the photos. They save type for cutlines and bylines. The photos need to be seen as an alternative way of telling the story they are paired with. Each photograph brings its own emotional complexity to the Times.

What is admirable about the times is their use of color in their photos. They tend to have very vibrant colors. Yet you will find some issues that will have more black and white photos then color.  But don’t think that the black and white is not without merit. Their photo choice with the black and white photos is even excellent. The photos chosen are definite attention grabbers.

The Los Angeles Times typically has one photo per story but are known for entire spreads of photos (hint SND). Especially in the Sunday Times.

The Los Angeles Times could stand to do many more spreads, because they do them so well. Spreads tend to be saved for big events: award season, disasters, Travel Section. But from what I noticed at SND, The Times knows how to tell a visual story quite well.