Berlin Wall

Toronto, for the next weeks, has a Berlin Wall, designed to keep any protesters and citizens (a.k.a. “threats”) away from the visiting G20 dignitaries, who must not see any of this.

I took a few snaps yesterday, from the car:

Toronto's G20 Security Fence, shot by Michael Willems

Toronto's G20 Security Fence

Toronto's G20 Security Fence, shot by Michael Willems

Toronto's G20 Security Fence

Toronto's G20 Security Fence, shot by Michael Willems

Toronto's G20 Security Fence

Army presence in the street, riot police, many extra Big Brother cameras, constant ID and security checks, roads closed when VIP convoys arrive, a large part of downtown that will be completely shut off for two days, cell phones that will be jammed when Mr Obama is around, and a $1bn bill for the taxpayer: very third world, and I thought that was probably worth a few dramatic black and white pictures.

Am I being ever so slightly manipulative, by using contrasty black and white?

Perhaps, and in news photography I would not of course use any contrast enhancement, or even go to mood-setting black and white. But in this type of documentary shots, on my blog, it is exactly what is called for. I believe the Berlin wall thing is hideous and that must be shown: outrage is suitable.

That said, you should be aware of the fact that just like a writer, a photojournalist can also tell the story he wants. A protest with only forty protesters? Shoot diagonally from above and it’ll look like hundreds. Black and white creates drama. When looking at news pictures, see them in this context, and ask “what was the journalist doing to put across his point of view?”

0 thoughts on “Berlin Wall

  1. Pingback: The Unreasonable Man » Blog Archive » More G20

  2. Urgency conveyed with b&w and off-kilter angles. Camera on the dash? Pre-set? Did you use a filter to get the sky in #2 so ominous? This is a great shot – the wiper providing the baseline. Thought-provoking work!

  3. Thanks.

    Camera was in my hand as I drove… I have a pretty good idea when time is pressing. I used aperture mode and set the lens to a wide angle.

    About the sky, a bit of enhancement in Lightroom 3 (review coming), but not much since it was in fact quite like that yesterday: cloudy and a bit threatening.

  4. Michael, the point you made in the last paragraph is what separates the pros from the amateurs. I shot my son’s school performance a couple of times. The first time I stood back and included the kids sitting in front of the gym. The pictures told the story – kids were performing in front of an audience. The second time I stood closer to the front and could only include a couple of kids in the audience in my shots, which weren’t nearly as good as those from the first time. The kids in the second set of photos looked like they were rehearsing and not performing. I really enjoy reading your blog as I am able to reinforce the a little things that I learned from making mistakes and resources like your blog.

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