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Alec Soth is a photographer who works on large-scale projects that play with the boundaries between his roles as a fine art photographer and photojournalist. This week, he asks you to take on the role of a newspaper photographer and report on a story from a different perspective. Here are your instructions:

1. Pick a story from a news source and follow up with it
2. Look for something that wasn’t covered in the story and take a photo of it
3. Write an accompanying text that pushes the viewer in a different direction
4. Upload your photo and caption with #theartassignment
5. Fame and glory (Your work might be in a future episode)

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20 thoughts on “News Photographer – Alec Soth | The Art Assignment | PBS Digital Studios”

  1. I'm sorry he pretended to work for a newspaper in order to get material for a project he intended to (and possibly did) make money from. 😵😵😵 What a disgusting creep. How could The Art Assignment sign off on this kind of unethical BS let alone celebrate it? Not okay.

  2. All is Subjectivity is it self a myth…!

    If all is subjective then the statement "all is subjective" has no value as it is itself just a subjective statement with no truth valve… and one is left in an infinite regress in attempting to prove such a statement has any substance at all.

    On the other hand the statement of preception following:
    The Art Assignment is a channel on Youtube. Is this just "subjective" ? Or is it varifiable in the emeprical world?

  3. Are we not going to distinguish the differences between art and journalism? And asserting that it's impossible to be objective requires arguments. It would be interesting to hear a conversation on the philosophy behind objective and subjective thought.

  4. Fabulous, really liked the inclusion of how we bring our biases to everything and how the very context (itself a bias) we carry around about what is "photos" or "photojournalism" also heavily influences how we interact and take pictures. Thank you for these insightful explorations!

  5. I love this! One of the tips I was once given in a high school photography class was to make a press pass for yourself with the name of a (real or imagined) blog/ news site/ etc. before going to events where you want to shoot. It can help you get in for free, skip lines, and get special access to events, and security will seldom question you. Make your own credential, back it up with a healthy dose of confidence, and get the shot.

  6. I remember doing a photo project as a model, where we were setting up a fake VIP tour on campus for a made up pop star. I made a CD cover for the new release and sent it to everyone. My role was a campus VIP providing the tour, and we had a bodyguard, manager, fan, paparazzi, and the singer herself. Unfortunately it rained the day we were going to go out and fake this tour, but I feel like that would have been a great set up for this assignment as well, documenting the tour but also the reactions of bystanders to this singer being ambushed by paparazzi and fans and all that.

  7. I also find myself uncomfortable with the fake newspaper tactic. Newspapers are already wrongly maligned in America, something we can little afford. Not sure I'm thrilled about people going out and pretending to be members of the press without any of the accompanying ethical obligations of real journalists. Interesting artist though and something to think about.

  8. Ok here is the deal though. When he made those cards and went out on assignments for a fake newspaper, that's was a breach of trust. People trust reporters and photographers with with their names, stories and lives. The takeaways he got from it are all true, that people are hungry for attention. But when they looked for the paper later or looked online for the article, what did they find? Nothing. They found a lie. Maybe not a hurtful lie, and maybe nothing was damaged. But he was given access on the basis of false credentials. That can make a source feel betrayed, feel like they were made fun of. I'm a reporter and I love my work. But people talk to me, they trust me, when they know who I work for and its reputation. When someone takes time out of their day to tell me their story, it's an honor. A privilege. And I owe them honesty on my side too. I like Alec's work and the history of it, but he owed those people honesty. Even if it is just a suburban cat story.

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