The Death of the Photo Editor

19 04 2008

I did not pick this image. I actually have no idea what it will be before I publish this entry. Why ? because it is a sort of semi “intelligent” algorithm in the background that will do it for me. A bit like Google ads scans a whole web page for keywords and post the relevant ads, this system, delivered by, does the same.

It will scan the page for keywords and post the most appropriate image. Like an automated photo editor. And because it is looking thought the feeds of Reuters, GettyImages and AP, I believe, it selects from a pool of already very tightly edited images. One could also foresee a Flickr API, a bit like I did with the yahoo pipes.

I am guaranteed a good and hopefully, relevant image . This is the future of news photo editing on the web. At least for sites that do not care so much about the image and use them as an illustration of  a written report. Why pay some guy to look at a stream of pre edited  images, download one, resize it and post when the whole thing can be automated. And better yet, computers don’t whine, do not take lunch breaks, or holidays and never, never ask for a raise. So why keep a web photo editor, if only to do some “best of the week” gallery ?

Think about it:  the biggest news source of the internet has no photo editor. It is called Google news and it selects images with a similar technology. Indeed, it relies on images previously edited by pro photo editors. For now.

The dailylife link is completely free, with no uncontrolled ads, like a Picapp or a GumGum would like you to swallow. Sure , it has a link for the site itself but the same technology could easily be applied by anyone on their own site.

Finally,, still in Beta, looks like an interesting destination. It seems they want to be a new Google news but put a heavy emphasis on photography and has a much better and smoother interface. More like a magazine designed for the internet, and not the opposite. Finally.

As newspapers and magazine are suffering more layouts as ad spending is weakening, most of the photo related professional are turning to the internet. However, because of its built in automation, it just seems that some of the jobs will not be recycle but ultimately replaced by machines. We will still need great pictures, thus talented photographers. Not so sure about needing photo editors.

B.C. Before Capa

14 04 2008

paris en image

Paris, France. Spring of 1871. After a four month siege of Paris by the Prussian army in a war started by Napoleon III, the French Government decides to surrender. In a decaying world where aristocracy is loosing its powers on the emerging working class,they also decide to let the German army parade in Paris. To add insult to injury, the french government relocates to Versailles, once the headquarters of the French Royalty.

The Parisian population, left defenseless, decide to take their fate in their own hands and organizes its protection. The Prussians, probably aware of the existing tensions, parade briefly and leave. The population of Paris takes control of the city and start their own independent government, called the “commune”. It will later be an insperition to Karl Marx, thus the name “communist”.

The French government send troops into Paris and it’s a bloody civil war, with mass execution. The revolution of the Parisians will have lasted only two lonely spring months. But it still has repercussions today.

Archive photo Agency Roger-Viollet has put up some great photographs of the uprising. Because, before Capa, there where other Capa’s. Without the advantage of fast film, most of the images are posed and lack the action of our current photojournalism. But they are poignant as well. Just to show that great images can make you learn about distant conflict, even in time.

Some commentaries are in French, but the trip is very well worth it. View it here.

And for those in love with the eternal city of light, the main site is all about historical views of the city.

A great idea of what a photo agency can do when they think a little bit outside the box.