Chicago Sun-Times axes all staff photographers, offers reporters 'iPhoneography training'



  • Reply 81 of 186

    The late Roger Ebert, of the Sun-Times, who appreciated quality photography like no other, would be highly critical of this move, methinks.  

  • Reply 82 of 186

    The point here is not the iPhone camera quality.

    This is about (underestimating) us, the readers - who are, unfortunately, not ready to pay for the quality of truth but for entertainment. This leads (has led) to communication that relies on rumours and speculation, and fills our mundane with speculations of “how flat will the next iOS design be” -kind of empty news.

    The news become surreal, a hallucination, like a photograph - a two dimensional image of our life, making headlines of iPhone using iPhone screenshots for illustration, read with our iPhones and re-communicated to others via facebook sharing or tweets.

    A photograph can not tell the truth of an event, but only make us aware of an event (Susan Sontag On Photography). What if the amateurish photograph cannot fulfil even this requirement, and the journalistic narrative is lacking depth (because the person responsible for getting the facts right, was too busy clicking the iPhone) - what kind of a truth can we expect from a newspaper? RUMOURS, nothing more.

    Chicago Sun-Times is unfortunately not the only paper heading this way…

  • Reply 83 of 186
    spaceagespaceage Posts: 21member
    "an increasing number of news outlets are turning to the pubic"...

    exactly what I was thinking.
  • Reply 84 of 186
    souliisoulsouliisoul Posts: 827member


    Originally Posted by paxman View Post

    There are lots of situations where an iPhone won't do. Sports is the main one, of course. But anything that requires a long lens or a narrow depth of field must be post processed and the results are very mixed.It is great that journalists are taught to use their iPhones - they are very capable cameras, but it is sad to see Photography as a valued profession so diminished. I am also troubled at how news gathering is becoming a one person job. And even journalists are losing their jobs. Increasingly all news comes from one very narrow limited source.

    Very true.

  • Reply 85 of 186
    Things are bad enough already with publications like Wired sourcing sub standard imagery from Flickr instead of paying for already low priced stock photography. Yes, there are good images on Flickr, I'm not talking about that, rather the actual bad shots Wired will use for their 'no budget' online articles.

    The iPhone is a poor alternative to the cheapest DSLR for photography, the biggest hole in its armour is its low light performance. An iPhone 4s is better than an iPhone 5 in this respect, but it comes down to basic physics, the sensors on phones are very small physically so the individual pixel wells (detectors) are very small compared to those on a DSLR. This results in poor quality in low light conditions.

    The other massive problem is the fixed focal length on the iPhone, its too wide for most news gathering, and for a few notable cases not wide enough.

    No doubt this paper is dying anyway so firing the photographers is just a death rattle, some of the photos will be fine, others not.
  • Reply 86 of 186
    palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,361member
    This is rediculous on so many levels.
    Perhaps the level that makes it most sad is that the industry is looking at the web traffic and says "Hey, look at all these user forums, Facebook, Instagram... Look at all the traffic! This is the kind of images people are used to nowadays. They don't care about fine quality. They care about urgency. We need to post images right there and then!"
  • Reply 87 of 186
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member


    Originally Posted by ChristophB View Post

    90% of my local rag is AP and syndicated. If I feel the need to see images of new, I don't wait for the 5 a.m. delivery of the Dallas Morning News that was inked 5 hours prior.

    Well they may continue to go that direction and fill in with the iphoneography for local stuff. I suspect there is much more to their business plan than that, as it is unlikely to buy them much time. It's difficult to say much about newspapers. Many of them depended on local advertising content to pay the bills. I'm unsure how they would go after new subscribers today.

  • Reply 88 of 186
    theciscothecisco Posts: 9member
    I understand the paper wants to move forward toward the future of photography, what I dont understand is why didnt they just train the staff who got fired on the iPhone instead? Everyone would have been happy. The paper got what they wanted and the photographers kept their jobs.
  • Reply 89 of 186
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    zoffdino wrote: »
    Sad, so sad for those photographers. I take photography as a side hobby, and despite the massive improvements in phone cameras recently, those photos still cannot measure up to the dedicated high end cameras. Heck, it's easy enough to tell an image taken by an iPhone 5 and that taken by $600 Nikon/Canon prosumer DSLR. You paid $600 for a dedicated camera, versus $600 for a phone that just happens to also has a camera.

    Becoming a photog isn't easy. There are lots of training, interning, learning on the jobs, and yes, heavy investment in photo equipments. It's so sad to see a large newspaper ditching all the arts of photography and tell the photogs "just take pictures with your phone".

    That doesn't matter when photo's of events in real time are hitting social sites before a dedicated photographer even has time to pack up their gear and head out.

    As a matter of fact before the paper even gets a chance to tell them where something is happening, it's already too late.
  • Reply 90 of 186
    lostkiwilostkiwi Posts: 639member


    Originally Posted by realpaulfreeman View Post

    The iPhone is a poor alternative to the cheapest DSLR for photography, the biggest hole in its armour is its low light performance. An iPhone 4s is better than an iPhone 5 in this respect, but it comes down to basic physics, the sensors on phones are very small physically so the individual pixel wells (detectors) are very small compared to those on a DSLR. This results in poor quality in low light conditions.



    Really? I thought the 5 was meant to be superior to the 4s in low light conditions?

  • Reply 91 of 186
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,675member
    apple ][ wrote: »
    The main thing that annoys me when people use their phone cameras is when morons shoot video holding their phones vertical

    Portrait video is indeed stupid, and I always point it out to someone who is holding it wrong.

    Cameras don't take pictures. People take pictures.

    You, like many many other posters here understand this. Managers in the wrong places, cutting costs - not so much.
  • Reply 92 of 186
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,675member
    gtr wrote: »
    solipsismx wrote: »
    NYTimes title?: Popularity of iPhone Camera Results In Mass Layoff of Professional Photographers

    You're being too generous. You need to make them sound more responsible:

    <img alt="" class="lightbox-enabled" data-id="25940" data-type="61" height="422" src="" style="; width: 500px; height: 422px;" width="500">

    Wowie! And lol on the Snow White!
  • Reply 93 of 186
    airbubbleairbubble Posts: 105member
    I agree that this is a bad move by The Chicago Sun-Times.
    Has stated already it's not just photography it's the art, experience & creativity
    capturing that 1 moment or many!
    Also in how it tells the story & said photographers words expressed within
    the moment in reporting.

    Just basic reporting these days has lost a lot to quick & clumsy reporting
    or more commonly know as Blogging.
    Wether it's on tech, environment, social-developments some have gone
    down a quick easy path & forget to source, substantiate.

    Another thing with digital media "desktop or mobile" you can access
    the image given & enlarge it to full capacity & if allowed save it use
    it has a desktop etc.

    Now with going mobile only will reduce the quality of images seen around the
    world, although Sonys latest mobile-cam is quite good at capturing images in
    difficult light. The CST should have at least started with only 2 or 3 first to
    test the results.
  • Reply 94 of 186
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    jungmark wrote: »
    This is stupid. Being a good photographer isn't just training. It's experience and creativity that's makes them shine. Just because you can take a pic of your cat doesn't make you a prof photog.

    No but taking a video of a plane crashing, because you just happen to be in the right spot at the right time might just outweigh that slightly.
  • Reply 95 of 186
    vadaniavadania Posts: 425member

    Hopefully you understand that those two towers came down on purpose and not from any typer of terroist type of threat.


    Some words misspelled on purpose.

  • Reply 96 of 186
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    This is a mistake for at least two reasons.

    First, the ubiquity of smartphones is not the right reason to fire photographers because equipment is not what makes a professional photog. John White didn't win his Pulitzer because of his equipment (which is no better than that of other professional photogs). He also didn't win it because he knew the basics of how to use a camera. He won it because he is an artist and an artisan. He knew when to take a photograph, where to take it and how to take it. You cannot pass on such instincts in a basic training course.

    Second, sports photography does require professional equipment. No smartphone can produce the spectacular shots typically shown on the front page of the sports section. The sensor, optics and speed are totally inadequate.

    If this story accurately represents what Chicago Sun-Times is planning to do, it is not a decision about iPhonegraphy being good enough tools. It is a decision to forsake photography as an important tool.

    Those photos will be handled by freelancers, especially the sports photography.

    Go back ten to fifteen years and it was done using film, twenty or thirty years, manually retouched and typeset.

    The world changes and moves on.

    That's life.
  • Reply 97 of 186
    pembrokepembroke Posts: 230member
    Due to my subscription to The Times digital edition where I get the paper everyday, the company now gets twice what I used to pay them on a monthly basis where previously I purchased only the Sunday paper.

    Now in addition to reading my digital Sunday paper I buy a rival hard copy paper on Sunday as a replacement to 'hold and shuffle' during Sunday morning coffee.

    My digital subscription gives me access to the paper via a web browser where I can copy articles to my Evernote account. It's a wonderful convenience.

    Lastly my digital subscription also provides discounted offers and occasionally movie previews. Those were important sweeteners in my consideration to purchase.

    Any claims that the iPhone camera is not up to the job will be dispelled by reading the links below. Whether the person using the iPhone is up to the job is another matter.

    If it's good enough for NatGeo?

    The course that almost was:
  • Reply 98 of 186
    newbeenewbee Posts: 2,055member

    "The Sun Times is willing to take a chance, however, and believes that with the proper training, reporters can gather images at 'a quality high enough' to publish." A quality high enough ...... yep, that says it all about newspapers nowadays. Why make it better, this is "good enough". And they wonder why they're losing their customer base daily. Pathetic.
  • Reply 99 of 186
    ecsecs Posts: 307member

    So you need to be an experienced professional photographer in order to use a DSLR, but you just need a few training weeks to use an iPhone? I thought the camera isn't what makes a photographer. Welcome to the "post-Mac" era. People who don't understand why I hate the "post-Mac" Apple so much, will realize in the coming years. Microsoft, in their most arrogant years, was like Bambi compared to the "post-Mac" Apple.

  • Reply 100 of 186
    mtefremtefre Posts: 12member

    Well said. I work with lay-outs and graphics in a local newspaper. Some of my work is preparing photos for print, mostly from our journalists, with great SLR Nikon/Canons. For years they've had training sessions, courses and so on, and honestly only two of around twenty has stepped up to delivering decent shots.Luckily though, the paper has kept a couple of professional photographers, making our issues look a little less crap. 

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